More fathers should be taking up their paternity leave entitlement to bond with their children, the chairman of the Oireachtas Children's Committee has said.
Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell, a father-of-two, said he would have liked to have been in a job that would have enabled him to take time off following the birth of his children.
The government legislated last year to allow fathers to take two weeks of paid paternal leave.
Until then, Ireland had been behind the majority of European countries in its exclusion of paternity leave from employment law.
Mr Farrell said that more fathers should be taking advantage of their paternity leave entitlement.
"As a father of two myself, I would encourage men to take their paternity leave," he said
"It's important in terms of bonding.
"I would have been very happy if I'd been in the type of employment that would have allowed me to take time off when my two children were born".
Mr Farrell was talking at a Fine Gael family picnic in Dublin's Merrion Park to raise awareness of the government's affordable childcare scheme.
Under the scheme, up to 70,000 children will have extra supports when new measures come into force at the start of the pre-school year.
A universal, non-means tested childcare subsidy, amounting to a maximum of 1,040 euro per year, will be available for children aged six months to three years.
Parents can find out what supports are available to them on the website AffordableChildcare.ie