Fewer female candidates now as local elections loom

Plans to redress the gender imbalance in Irish politics won’t be helped by the emerging field of candidates for next year’s local elections.

Plans to redress the gender imbalance in Irish politics won’t be helped by the emerging field of candidates for next year’s local elections.

Of the current 26 county councillors, just seven are women. But at least three of those female councillors have confirmed they will not be seeking re-election in May.

Catherine Connery, Jane Galwey and Anne-Maria Irish (all Fine Gael) have said they will not stand. Reasons vary from family committments to professional ones. It also follows the resignation of Cllr Betty Manning (FG) last year.

As things stand, Sinn Fein’s Kathleen Funchion and Labour’s Marie Fitzpatrick will be the only two women contesting the two city areas. Fianna Fail has not put forward female candidates for the city.

Under new legislation published by Minister Phil Hogan, political parties will be required to have at least 30% female candidates in the next general election – or lose out on funding. However, the minister has ruled out applying the same rules for the 2014 local elections.