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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 22 October, 2014

Gender quota legislation passes all stages of Oireachtas

The new Bill – which has been sent to President Higgins for signature – cuts party funding if they don’t balance genders.

Phil Hogan took the opportunity of a final Seanad sitting to complain about modern standards of journalism.
Phil Hogan took the opportunity of a final Seanad sitting to complain about modern standards of journalism.

LEGISLATION requiring Ireland’s political parties to offer a minimum proportion of candidates from both sexes has been sent to the President for signature into law, after clearing all stages in the Oireachtas today.

The Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Bill 2011 would see parties lose half of their central exchequer funding unless the minority sex among their candidates accounts for 30 per cent of the entire national ticket at the next general election.

The threshold will then rise to 40 per cent once the new 30-per-cent minimum has been in place for seven years – possibly as soon as 2019, or as late as 2022.

The legislation gained its final formal approval in the Dáil yesterday, after the government made 33 final amendments to the legislation, in order to incorporate some of the recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal.

The final legislation was agreed unanimously by the Dáil, with the final amendments rubberstamped by the Seanad this morning when the legislation was also unopposed.

As the Bill was securing its final approval, environment minister Phil Hogan said he had noted a “change from reporting what actually happens to actually giving your personal view as a journalist” since he had first entered the Oireachtas in 1987.

“The politics of perception rather than the politics of truth is what we’re engaged in,” Hogan said, saying he personally found this “rather depressing”, and “corrosive to democracy”.

The law, assuming it is signed by the President next week, will now also require parties to include details of their local branches in the register of political parties, and also requires the setting up of a new register of corporate donors.

It also reduces the limits of how much a politician can accept from any personal or corporate donor in any calendar year.

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