The system in Ireland is completely different to that in the UK. Sickness and maternity benefits exist but are calculated in a very different way to those in the UK and are not paid through employers - the employees claim directly from the State. However there is sometimes a need for employers to take action, particularly if you're paying occupational sick or maternity pay which needs to interact with the State benefit.
There's not room here to go into detail, your best bet would be to look at the guidance on the Department of Social Protection website.
Try here for maternity cases:http://www.welfare.ie/EN/Schemes/BirthC ... es/mb.aspx
And here for sickness:http://www.welfare.ie/EN/Schemes/Illnes ... es/ib.aspx
You should then be able to use the links on those pages to get further details if you require them.