AMANDA FERGUSON in north Belfast

Friday, October 8, 2021

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin is in Belfast for a programme of events.

This morning, the Taoiseach spoke at an all-island business event jointly hosted by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Chambers Ireland exploring the all-island and global challenge of climate change in advance of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November. The First Minister and Deputy First Minister attended.

A highlight of the visit was meeting participants in Women’s Tec, a transformative initiative in North Belfast which helps women and girls to train in non-traditional sectors and trades. He got power tool lessons from Blessed Trinity College pupils and his hand was made into a cast.

Women’s TeC CEO Lynn Carvill was pleased the Taoiseach took an interest in the organisation which has helped thousands of women over the years.

STATEMENT: An Taoiseach’s visit provided a much needed boost for WOMEN’STEC, shining a spotlight on the vital work we are doing to help disadvantaged women to improve their circumstances amidst ever-growing difficulties.

The recent cuts to universal credit, COVID, rising rates of mental health crises, job losses, and difficulty accessing affordable childcare have hit the women in our communities the hardest. WOMEN’STEC seeks to address some of these challenges by providing opportunities to learn new skills, improve employability, and build resilience and self-confidence – all of which remove barriers to wellbeing and improve the circumstances of the women we support.

Lynn Carvill, CEO of WOMEN’STEC said: “Over the past eighteen months, we have seen the needs of women in our communities rise significantly and we have been working hard to address these needs and help women to succeed in all areas of their lives. An Taoiseach’s visit today will help us shine a spotlight on the important work we do at WOMEN’STEC. We’re delighted to welcome him to our building and are grateful for the opportunity to showcase what we do here.”

More broadly Lynn told Amanda.ie of her wish list for progress.

It includes: Core funding. Childcare for families. Resources going to women to help them build confidence, and go into employment. A gendered lens applied to policy and funding decisions. End of stereotyping and barriers to women’s participation so they can reach their full potential. Ring fenced apprenticeships for women and girls in construction and other non traditional industries.

See: https://womenstec.org/

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Also on Micheál Martin’s schedule: A visit to Queen’s University Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research for a meeting with researchers involved in all-island research cooperation, a key area being advanced through the Shared Island Fund. He also met students.

Meeting with Stormont politicians, includin a briefing on the €3.5bn budget for collaborative cross-border investment announced this week with the publication of the National Development Plan, including the doubling of the Shared Island Fund to €1bn to 2030.

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