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Over €150,000 to be given to political parties to increase number of female councillors

Funding has been granted in a bid to increase the number of female candidates and councillors in the next local election in 2024.

Ballot boxes pictured in Dublin ahead of the 2020 General Election
Ballot boxes pictured in Dublin ahead of the 2020 General Election
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

OVER €150,000 WILL be given to political parties and independent councillors in a bid to increase the number of female candidates and councillors in the next local election in 2024.

The total funding allocated this year is €150,274, substantially more in comparison to previous years.

The funding will be given to a number of political parties and independent women councillors and an Oireachtas members group.

A variety of activities are due to be funded, including hosting women’s conferences, employing dedicated gender/diversity staff within parties, hosting policy and training workshops, as well as recruitment campaigns both in person and online.

In a statement released today, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government said a common theme in the feedback received from political parties “was that increased funding was required to ensure more effective and tangible outcomes”.

“The submissions received set out more extensive activities than in previous years, clearly outlining substantial programmes of work that justify the additional spend. These will contribute considerably to our mutual objectives of increasing gender balance and diversity in local government,” the statement added.

“All projects will help to increase the pipeline of female candidates through various activities such as recruitment, capacity building, training, networking and providing support to potential candidates and female party members.”

Screenshot 2021-09-27 08.07.09 Source: Dept of Housing, Planning and Local Government

Speaking about the funding, Minister for Planning and Local Government Peter Burke said: “It is imperative that we achieve a more gender balanced political system.

“I want to see our Council chambers reflecting society at large and, at present, we are failing in this objective.”

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Burke continued: “Previously, a set amount was given by my Department to each party, based simply on the number of female candidates they ran in the 2019 local elections. I felt we needed a more prescriptive scheme, with funding linked to targeted measures and tangible outcomes.

“As such, the political parties involved in the scheme have been asked to clearly set out a strategic timeline over the next three years as to how they will support and prepare female candidates to run in the local elections in 2024. We have seen in the General Election that when you have more females on the ballot, you have more females elected.”

Burke also noted that his Department is also progressing the provision of maternity leave for councillors, adding he is “working closely with the Attorney General’s Office on this matter”.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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