Some of Ireland's most prominent female politicians: Mary Lou McDonald, Joan Burton, Catherine Noone, Mary White and Lucinda Creighton Conor McCabe
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The majority of men are against gender quotas

As political parties try to ensure a third of their Dáil hopefuls are female, a new poll has some interesting findings.

MORE PEOPLE ARE opposed to political parties being required to ensure a third of their candidates are female at the next general election than are for the idea, according to a new poll.

The findings of a Claire Byrne Live/Amárach Research poll also show that most men are opposed to gender quotas, a measure which will ensure that more women than ever are running for the Dáil next year.

Under legislation introduced by former environment minister Phil Hogan in 2012 political parties are required to ensure 30% of their candidates are female or face a halving of their State funding.

The primary aim of the new law is to increase female participation in Irish politics with just 95 women having served in the Dáil in the State’s history. Ireland also has one of the lowest number of directly-elected female parliamentarians (26) in the developed world.

The poll finds that while 41% agree with gender quotas, 45% are against, while 14% don’t know.  Over half of men, 54%, oppose gender quotas which contrasts with 47% of women who favour them.

Among the age groups, the strongest support for gender quotas is among 18 to 24-year-olds where 47% are in favour, while the lowest level of support is among the 25 to 34 age group where only 37% favour quotas.

Parties finalise tickets

The findings come as all parties begin to finalise their list of candidates for the general election which is expected to take place early in the spring of next year.

Fianna Fáil has endured a series of controversial selection conventions where members, much to their chagrin, have been directed to pick only a female candidate. Just over 30% of its 63 candidates are women.

However, last weekend a Fianna Fáil member in Dublin Central, Brian Mohan, confirmed he was challenging the law in the courts.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael has completed its conventions but has begun the process of adding female candidates in certain constituencies and currently only 28% of its 81 candidates are women.

Analysis by Maynooth geography lecturer Adrian Kavanagh has also found that other parties are faring better with 36% of Sinn Féin’s 50 candidates are female, while over 37% of Labour’s 35 candidates are women.

People Before Profit has selected 21 candidates, with nearly 43% of them female. Just over 26% of the Green Party’s 23 candidates are women. Over 26% of Renua’s 15 candidates are female while nearly 43% of Social Democrats’ candidates are women.

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