FIANNA FÁIL TD Dara Calleary has said that the party is “very disappointed” with the lack of female candidates it is fielding in May’s European and local elections.
Calleary said that the number of women contesting the elections for Fianna Fáil stood at “just under 20 per cent” of their candidates.
“We’ve a lot more work to do there there … We’re disappointed in that, we’re not hiding it,” Calleary stated.
He said that this figure rose to 30 per cent in Dublin, adding that the party’s candidates in the capital were “the strongest team we’ve fielded in many, many years between European and local elections”.
We’re very proud of those we having running. We’re very proud of Mary Fitzpatrick leading the team.
The party have more than 400 candidates running nationwide, 120 of whom are first-time candidates.
Last year, the government passed legislation that will see parties lose half of their exchequer funding if women do not make up a minimum of 30 per cent of their overall number of candidates at the next general election.
Calleary was speaking at launch of the party’s programme for their Árd Fhéis this weekend. The 75th annual event will be held this Friday and Saturday at the INEC in Killarney.
Dozens of motions will be debated at the conference, including the potential abolition of JobBridge to end the “exploitation of young Irish people by the programme”, the establishment of a State-owned enterprise bank to support SMEs, and the “immediate end to all top up salary payments in taxpayer funded agencies”.
Calleary said that Fianna Fáil would use the motions as “guidance”, adding that they were not necessarily party policy.
Speaking at the launch, Fianna Fáil’s general secretary Seán Dorgan said that the party was currently “about €860,000″ in debt. He said that this figure “has reduced significantly” in recent times and the party expected to be debt-free next year due to funds raised through donations, membership fees and their annual ‘National Super Draw’. The draw raised €590,000 in 2013.
Membership of Fianna Fáil currently stands at just over 20,000, down from some 40,000 when the party was in government.