“All political parties need to step up and support more women to run for election”

The national ‘Women for Election’ group has said that this year’s local election was a missed opportunity for greater progress in the representation of women in local government.

While there was an increase in the number of female councillors elected nationally in May, the group has called the latest local election results “disappointing”.

In Donegal, four female councillors were elected out of 37 councillors for 2019-2024. Across Ireland, the total proportion of female councillors in local authorities has increased from 21% to 23%.

Women for Election have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help train 300 more women interested in entering Irish politics.

CEO Ciairín de Buis said: “Despite the increase to 24% in the number of Council seats taken by women, we’re disappointed that it fell short of a quarter of all Council seats. While it represents the highest number of Council seats held by women in the history of the State, it just proves how slow our political system has been to respond to changes in society as a whole.”

Women for Election is calling on the Government to introduce quotas for local elections, along the lines of those currently in place for General Elections.

Ms. de Buis said: “What’s telling for us is that the parties who ran more women candidates saw a corresponding increase in the number of women elected. It makes it all the more disappointing that the parties who took the majority of Council seats failed to reach the 30% target for women candidates. Fine Gael came close at 29% while Fianna Fáil reached just 22%. If all parties had reached or exceeded 30%, we might have seen a bigger step forward for women in Irish politics.

“It clearly demonstrates the importance of quotas. They’ve helped parties to do better at the national level and it’s time to extend that to local government. We need to make sure all parties are stepping up and supporting more women to run for election.”

Women for Election’s training equips, supports and inspires women to run for local, general and European elections.

In the 2016 General Election, 40% of first time women TDs had completed trained with Women for Election. Women for Election is hoping to raise €35,000 in the next two weeks.

Visit the campaign page here: https://igg.me/at/more-women