Donegal has been revealed to have the highest level of gender imbalance in local council.

A new CSO report found that 8.1% of Donegal County Councillors are female. This represents three out of 37 sitting councillors.

The 2014 elections saw Independent Cllr Niamh Kennedy, Fianna Fáil Cllr Rena Donaghy and Sinn Fein Cllr Marie Therese Gallagher being appointed to the council.

Donegal and Wexford were found to have the lowest proportion of local government seats held by women, with less than 9% women in council chambers.

The figures were released as part of the Regional SDGs Ireland 2017 report by the CSO studying 70 indicators on regional life in Ireland.

CSO Ireland

The report also the fertility rate which was 1.81 nationally. Donegal’s birth rates were at 1.89 in 2016.

Donegal was found to have the lowest number of drivers with penalty points on their licence. Some 12,885 (12.9%) of licence holders in the county had penalty points in 2017.

As female representation in council comes under the spotlight, attention is turning to candidates in May’s election.

Maria Doherty

Local woman Maria Doherty has announced that she is aiming to be added to Sinn Féin’s party ticket to contest in the Milford Electoral Area.

Doherty, who is the daughter of the former Sinn Féin Vice President and West Tyrone MP, Pat Doherty, has been nominated by the Carrigart Sinn Féin cumann to be the Sinn Féin candidate this May.

Speaking ahead of the Milford selection convention, Ms Doherty said: “I am deeply honoured to have been nominated by my local Carrigart cumann. Like many young people back in the day and since, I had to leave my home place to earn a living but it was always my dream to return home and to roll up my sleeves for the people of my home parish and the people of Donegal and to put to use the years of experience that I have; years of experience working with NGO’s and the Community and Voluntary Sector in Ireland and working successfully with national and international organisations including state Enterprise and Education bodies.

Ms Doherty added: “I have been living back home for the last year now and if I am selected as the Sinn Féin candidate on Sunday, I will work tirelessly to meet as many people as possible across this Milford Electoral Area over the months ahead and hopefully to join a strong Sinn Féin team on Donegal County Council when the votes are counted in May.”