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25 Sept 2022

Louth County Council seminar aims to increase the diversity of women in Local Government

In association with See Her Elected

Louth County Council seminar aims to increase the diversity of women in Local Government

Louth County Council seminar aims to increase the diversity of women in Local Government

A seminar aimed at increasing the diversity of women in Local Government will be hosted by Louth County Council in association with See Her Elected at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dundalk on Tuesday, September 27th. ‘Increasing the Diversity of Women in Local Government’ will run from 10am to 2pm and will include panel discussions with local and national politicians as well as speakers from diverse groups.

Joan Martin, Chief Executive of Louth County Council, welcoming the convening of the seminar as an important step in increasing diversity in local government, said: “Louth has a great diversity in its population, and it is important that local government reflects that diversity throughout all its decision making to better serve our citizens”. Ms Martin will address the seminar focusing on the important role women have in local government, from serving in the executive, the council chamber or, participating in the various statutory and community fora in place throughout the County.

“The purpose of every PPN in the country is to enable community groups to input into and have their voices heard within the formal decision-making structures of the Local Authority” said Anna Ryan of Louth PPN. “Louth County Council is very supportive of our PPN and of the community voice in all its diversity here in Louth and this is evident in their enthusiasm at hosting this event. It is so important that the County Chambers reflect the community it represents and this is why this event is so important to Louth County Council”.

Dr Michelle Maher, Programme Manager with See Her Elected, the award-winning Government funded project which aims to encourage women from rural areas to engage in local politics will deliver the opening address while Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council Cllr Conor Keelan will also address the gathering.

Fine Gael’s Mary Mitchell O’ Connor former Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Minister of State who served as TD in Dún Laoghaire constituency from 2011 to 2020 will be one of the main guest speakers at the seminar. The event will feature a diverse panel of local and national politicians with the ‘Journey into Politics’ panel featuring Senator Erin McGreehan and Louth County Councillors, Edel Corrigan, Maeve Yore, Paula Butterly and Marianne Butler.

The second panel discussion entitled ‘Diverse Pathways into Politics’ will include a range of speakers from diverse groups such as Orla Walsh from the Red Door Project, an organisation which provides assistance and services to individuals, families, and the wider community that are affected by drug and alcohol use;  Ejiro Ohare Stratton from Hands 4 Unity an organisation to educate and empower women; Bernie Quinn from Outcomers, a support group for LGBTQ+ people while the panel will also include a representative of Comhairle na nOg. Sinead Doody of Doody Faciliating and Consulting will act as MC for the event.

The SHE programme is a rural strategy to address the under-representation of women in politics in rural Ireland. See Her Elected Programme Manager, Dr Michelle Maher said, “We want to see more women being elected to county councils. Only 26% of county councillors throughout Ireland are female and we have a much lower percentage of female councillors in rural counties compared to more urban centres such as Dublin.  Louth County Council is bucking the national trend as there are 12 female councillors out of 29 but unfortunately this is not replicated throughout rural Ireland. There are only 3 women out of 18 councillors on Monaghan County Council and only 4 women out of 18 in Cavan County Council for example.

“It is important to have a female perspective at decision making level as this will ensure more balanced decisions are made on a range of issues which matter to us as women whether that’s climate change, employment, parenting, care or violence against women for example.

“We would love to see as many women as possible attending the in-person event in Dundalk on Tuesday, September 27th when they will have the opportunity to hear from a range of diverse speakers in local and national politics while also hearing more about the work of See Her Elected and our range of Free online ‘Introduction to Politics’ classes and Foundation and Strategy series of workshops,” continued Dr Maher.

Entry to the seminar is free of charge but you must register in advance on Eventbrite with the link on www.louthcoco.ie/ or email ppn@louthcoco.ie .

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