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Dublin: 1°C Saturday 23 January 2021

Gender quota legislation goes before Seanad

The reforms – described as “groundbreaking” by Minister Phil Hogan – will also introduce new controls on political funding.

Image: loop_oh via Flickr

LEGISLATION TO INTRODUCE gender quotas into Irish electoral politics went before the Seanad today, where it was described as “real change” and “real reform”.

The measures will mean political parties must field at least 30 per cent female and 30 per cent male candidates, or face their funding being cut in half.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said the legislation was “an important step towards achieving a significant improvement in the balance of representation in the Dáil.” He added:

When citizens of this country look at our national Parliament, they should see something more akin to their own reflection looking back at them.

The legislation will also introduce reforms to the system of political funding. The amount that political parties can receive in any one donation will be slashed from €6,348 to €2,500, while for individual candidates the limit will drop from €2,539 to €1,000.

Corporate donations of more than €200 will be prohibited “unless the donors meet the most strict and exacting conditions”, according to a statement from the Department of the Environment. Minister Hogan said:

This Bill will decisively shift the balance of the current political funding and regulatory system in favour of the citizen.  It will affirm the right in law to know how politics is funded, who is providing the funding and how that money is spent.

There will also be stricter thresholds on which donations must be declared to the Standards in Public Office Commisions. Moreover, political parties will have to submit financial accounts to the Standards in Public Office Commission, or face a withdrawal of State funding.

More: Gender quotas welcome – but ‘token’ women candidates won’t work>

Read: Leinster House is ‘unnatural’ – Gilmore>

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Michael Freeman

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