Sanctions needed for lack of female candidates in Galway, says Councillor Pauline O’Reilly

By Robyn Kilroy and Katherine Condon

Strict sanctions should be imposed on parties not running enough women in constituencies, according to a local councillor.

Pauline O’Reilly (Green Party), who is running in the upcoming General Election, said the Dáil needs to represent Ireland and the people living in it. She recalls Deputy Leader Catherine Martin’s disappointment in the lack of gender representation in the Dáil when she was first elected.

“When Catherine Martin was elected to the Dáil she was delighted but she could see the scale of inequality when she walked in,” said Galway West Councillor O’Reilly.

“There should be stricter sanctions on parties not running enough women in their constituencies. It is a huge concern that not enough women are elected.”

Current legislation requires that every party has to have at least 30% female candidates in general elections. This quota will increase in the coming year to 40% following the election.

In 2020, Galway’s number of female candidates makes only 26% of its total GE candidates. In the Galway constituencies there are 38 candidates running of which just ten are female. In Galway East two out of the 12 candidates are women. In Galway West there are four out of 15 female candidates and in Roscommon-Galway four of the 11 candidates are women.

For the first time there is a female candidate running in every constituency in Ireland. However, non-profit organisation, Women for Election, hope that each constituency will have more gender balance in the future.

Ciarín de Buis CEO of Women for Election said that more needs to be done to achieve equal gender representation at a local level.

“Research shows that more diversity amongst candidates equals better decisions making which results in better politics,” she said.

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