Sinn Fein Vice President Mary-Lou McDonald says that she believes that a quota system is the best tool at the country’s disposal to get more women involved in politics.
Deputy McDonald was in Dundalk to speak as part of International Women’s Day, and gave speeches in DkIT and Dundalk Outcomers before descending on Sinn Fein HQ on Crowe Street.
Deputy MacDonald spoke to the media and explained her position on the gender divide in politics. “Problem number one, as things stand in this country, whether its in the Dail or even at local authority level, politics is overwhelmingly male.
“Of course men bring things to politics, but we can’t claim even at the most basic level, that any kind of functioning representative democracy when 50 per cent of the population are so underrepresented and in some cases, invisible, to be honest about it.
“That causes a problems for women outside of political life because they look on and they come to the conclusion, that politics are for men.
“It’s perceived as very male, and that’s what we need to change.
“That’s why Sinn Fein will be fielding 350 candidates across the island and we are going to hit the 30 per cent and in some cases exceed.”
Deputy McDonald also said that she believed that a gender audit should be implemented at the Dáil in order to the address the imbalance.
“If we we don’t make an intervention we will be waiting 300 years.”
She also affirmed that she believed that the quota system was the way forward on the issue. Earlier in the day Deputy MacDonald was part of discussion titled Women inspiring change in DKIT .
Cllr Jennifer Green is current vice chair of Dundalk town council, Cllr Imelda Munster on Drogheda Borough council and both Cllr Edel Corrigan and Cllr Imelda Munster being the only two female representatives elected onto Louth Council Council in 2009.
All three will be running in May’s Local Government Elections.