Republic of Ireland news

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hails new fund to help disadvantaged women into employment

Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Social Innovation Fund Ireland, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Bank of America vice-chairwoman Anne Finucane at the launch. Picture by Marc O'Sullivan/PA
Rebecca Black, Press Association

The taoiseach has welcomed the launch of a new fund aimed at helping disadvantaged women into employment.

Leo Varadkar has spoken of his hopes for the €1.8 million (£1.58m) Mna na hEireann – Women of Ireland – fund.

It will be the first in the country to support charities and social enterprises that seek to aid women experiencing disadvantage to access sustained employment.

Mr Varadkar said: "The €1.8m fund has the potential to create a lasting impact and transform the lives of the women involved and add value to our society.

"This initiative also complements the work being done by government to reduce the gender pay gap in Ireland and ensure greater representation of women across all sectors of Irish society."

The fund aims to empower 1,000 women to secure employment across Ireland over the next three years.

It will be delivered by Social Innovation Fund Ireland, in partnership with Bank of America and the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Anne Finucane, vice-chairwoman of the Bank of America, said: "Fostering sustainable growth, economic mobility and social progress within the communities in which we operate is at the heart of our business.

"This new fund aims to support organisations which provide women with the tools needed to gain sustainable employment."

The launch comes as figures from the Central Statistics Office Ireland show the gender participation gap in the Republic's labour market is one of the widest in Europe, compared to other EU15 countries.

Organisations wishing to apply to the Mna na hEireann fund can find details on the Social Innovation Fund website The application period is open until April 18 2019.

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