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Election 2016

Election hopefuls are signing up to support women's issues in their droves

The National Women’s Council launched its ‘breakthrough manifesto for women’ today and some heavy-hitters have already given it their endorsement.

Repeal The 8th Amendment Bills Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

CANDIDATES FOR THE Dáil in the impending general election are signing up to a new women’s manifesto in their droves.

Just hours after releasing its breakthrough ‘manifesto for women’, the National Women’s Council or Ireland (NWCI) has 28 candidates confirmed as supporting the issues which the manifesto raises.

Among that list are some heavy hitters from the ranks of incumbent TDs including Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald, Independent Clare Daly, Labour drugs and equality minister Aodháin Ó Ríordáin, and outspoken Labour deputy Anne Ferris.

photojoiner (l-r) Clare Daly, Mary Lou McDonald, Aodháin Ó Ríordáin

While the 28 candidates (plus a couple of senators) announced as having signed up reflects a relatively small percentage (6%) of the estimated 456 hopefuls expected to run, it still represents a hefty wedge given the manifesto only launched this morning.

The candidates so far signed up are:

  • Ken Curtin, Cork East, Social Democrats
  • Gary Doherty, Donegal, Sinn Fein
  • Aodhan O’Riordain, Dublin Bay North, Labour
  • Averil Power, Dublin bay North, Independent
  • Denise Mitchell, Dublin Bay North, Sinn Fein
  • Chris Andrews, Dublin Bay South, Sinn Fein
  • Gary Gannon, Dublin Central, Social Democrats
  • Mary Lou McDonald, Dublin Central, Sinn Fein
  • Kate O’Connell, Dublin Bay South, Fine Gael
  • Clare Daly, Dublin Fingal, Independent Socialist
  • Louise O’Reilly, Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein
  • Anne Marie McNally, Dublin Mid-West, Social Democrat
  • Eoin O’Broin, Dublin Mid-West, Sinn Fein
  • John Lyons, Dublin North-West, Labour
  • Sarah Holland, Dublin South West, Sinn Fein
  • Katherine Zappone, Dublin South-West, Independent
  • TJ Clare, Dublin West, Independent
  • Cormac McKay, Dublin West, Direct Democracy Ireland
  • Carol Hunt, Dun-Laoghaire, Independent
  • Catherine Murphy, Kildare North, Social Democrats
  • Lisa Chambers, Fianna Fail, Mayo
  • Darren O’Rourke, Meath East, Sinn Fein
  • Ciara Conway, Waterford, Labour Party
  • Aoife Byrne, Fianna Fail, Wexford
  • Chris MacManus, Sligo-Letrim, Sinn Fein
  • Leonard Kelly, Wexford, Social Democrats
  • Anna Doyle, Wicklow, People Before Profit
  • Anne Ferris, Wicklow, Labour

The level of takeup can be seen as a reflection of the fact that the coming election is one in which women’s rights will be to the fore in a manner never before seen in Ireland with the 8th amendment, affordable childcare, and action on violence against women all set to be hot topics.

Other talking-points raised in the 10-point manifesto, on top of the three mentioned above, include: the gender pay gap, budget equality, and a national action plan for women’s equality.

“This election has the potential to be a breakthrough election for women in Ireland,” said director of the NWCI Orla O’Connor.

The gender quota has ensured that, for the first time, voters will have a real choice to vote for more women.

SONY DSC Orla O'Connor

With our manifesto we now want to encourage all candidates to demonstrate their support for concrete policies that will be crucial to accelerate the pace of change for women’s equality in Ireland.

O’Connor stresses the removal of the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution, that which puts a mother’s life on par with that of the unborn, as a priority.

The 8th amendment is seen as the chief stumbling block in the abortion debate in Ireland, with Labour in particular committing to a referendum to repeal the eighth as part of their pre-election pledge.

“One of the 10 key demands highlighted in our Manifesto is to provide women with full reproductive rights and ensure that Irish law is in line with international Human Rights standards,” she said.

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