Fox puts children ahead of politics

Mildred Fox, the Wicklow TD, who has decided to retire from politics at the age of 35, has disclosed that she made the decision…

Mildred Fox, the Wicklow TD, who has decided to retire from politics at the age of 35, has disclosed that she made the decision in order to devote more time to her three young children.

"I feel the time has come to make a decision as to whether or not I could commit to another five years of being absent in the evening time. I just felt my continued absence would be a difficulty for them as they are getting older," she told RTÉ's This Week programme yesterday.

Ms Fox said that the problem with life as a TD was that she could not be with her children in the evenings. "My main difficulty was at evening times when I had to go out for the second time. It just means that it is very difficult to plan anything with your children; doing homework, anything like that. Anything that normal family life would entail is difficult to plan for.

"The phone will ring when you are walking out the door or maybe somebody will arrive at your doorstep when you are about to go and do something important with them. The job I do, I love it. I just feel that at this stage my family are going to have to come first."

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Asked how she felt about the fact that her decision would reduce the already small number of women in politics she said: "I suppose it is just part of life. For me it is a personal decision. I just feel I would like to be there for my children in the evening time. I know other people have different child care arrangements. I think every woman has to decide for themselves what they want to do in this job. Certainly having a young family does present difficulties for female TDs. I really don't see how that problem will ever be resolved."

She said that making the decision to step down was extremely difficult. "I have a great bunch of supporters and when I announced it . . . to see the shock on their faces was very upsetting; it was a very emotional time."