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Parental Bereavement Bill Passes Final Consideration Stage

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has said he is delighted that the Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Bill has successfully passed through its final consideration stage in Stormont.

Mr Dickson said: “The loss of a child is a tragedy beyond what most of us can even bring ourselves to imagine. When such tragedies occur, parents must be treated empathetically, and their right to space and support must be protected in legislation.

“What I am particularly proud of in the development of this legislation, is that it encompasses cases of miscarriage. More than one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage, and the pain for families simply cannot be diminished.

“With this legislation, Northern Ireland is setting an example for the rest of the UK, where bereavement leave has not yet been extended to those who have suffered a miscarriage. In this way, Northern Ireland has shown the real tangible good that can come from devolution”.

In acknowledging that the bill has some way still to go, Mr Dickson said: “In yesterday’s sitting, I did raise a few issues with the Minister regarding the scope of the legislation as I wanted to ensure that the incoming provisions are available for all bereaved parents.

“The Minister assuaged my concerns in his closing remarks, and I am grateful to him for that. Implementing legislation can be a long and painstaking task, but a clear course has now been chartered”.

Mr Dickson concluded by saying: “As my Alliance Party colleague, Kellie Armstrong MLA, said yesterday in the Chamber, the passing of this bill represents compassion in legislation”.

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