Tuesday 25 October 2016

Number of women TDs could be up by a third in 32nd Dáil

Paul Melia and Wayne O'Connor

Published 29/02/2016 | 02:30

First-time TD Lisa Chambers, right, celebrating with her running mate Dara Calleary after
they were both elected for Fianna Fáil in Mayo. Picture: Gerry Mooney
First-time TD Lisa Chambers, right, celebrating with her running mate Dara Calleary after they were both elected for Fianna Fáil in Mayo. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Click to see a bigger version of the graphic

The number of women TDs could be up by more than 10 compared to the last Dáil.

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There were 25 women elected in the 2011 general election (15pc), but number crunchers were last night predicting that at least 32 women are assured of seats in the next Dáil after the counting is done - and the figure could be as high as 37, depending on transfers and recounts.

Last night, as counting continued, there were already 28 women elected to the new Dáil, which has 158 seats (17.7pc), meaning the number of women is up on the last Dáil - with 37 seats yet to be filled.

Either way it will mark an increase following the introduction of gender quotas put in place since the 2011 election, which meant political parties would lose half their State funding unless they fielded at least 30pc male and 30pc female candidates.

All over the country there were women celebrating making it to the Dáil for the first time, including Kathleen Funchion (Sinn Féin) in Carlow-Kilkenny; Margaret Murphy O'Mahony (Fianna Fáil) in Cork South West; Anne Rabbitte (Fianna Fáil) in Galway East; Hildegarde Naughton (Fine Gael) and Catherine Connolly (Independent) in Galway West; Fiona O'Loughlin (Fianna Fáil) in Kildare South; Lisa Chambers (Fianna Fáil) in Mayo; Carol Nolan (Sinn Féin) in Offaly; and Mary Butler (Fianna Fáil) in Waterford.

Women TDs returned in Dublin constituencies in Election 2016 included Dublin Rathdown's two new TDs, Fine Gael's Josepha Madigan and the Green Party's Catherine Martin. Fine Gael also has a new winner in Dublin Bay South with Kate O'Connell.

In Fingal, Sinn Féin's Louise O'Reilly is a new TD, and in Dún Laoghaire Maria Bailey is a new TD for Fine Gael.

An analysis of the number of first-preference votes in the 11 Dublin constituencies reveals that, on average, female candidates got 14pc more votes than the men.

This was especially so in Dublin South Central, where women pulled 24pc more votes; Dublin North West, where they got 32pc more; and Dublin Central, where the women got 36pc more first preferences.

In the last Dáil there were 47 seats in Dublin and 13 of those were held by women, - just under 28pc.

This time around, with the exclusion of Dublin Bay North which was still in count last night, 16 out of the 44 seats are held by women - over 36pc.

But there were interesting anomalies too. The figures show that in Dublin Rathdown, where Ms Madigan and Ms Martin got two of the three seats, the four female candidates actually got 34pc fewer first preferences than the five men on the ballot paper. Outside Dublin, Connacht showed the highest preference towards women, with an average of 3,692 votes for women and 3,807 for men, a difference of just 3pc. The sharpest difference was in Munster where men got 66pc more first preferences than woman. Leinster, excluding Dublin, showed a difference of 56pc in preference to men over women.

Irish Independent

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