Time for women at top table
History looms on Friday as a record 165 female candidates bid for the Dail.
As they move towards the finishing line, some of Fine Gael's leading women say gender quotas have been a big topic of discussion on the doorsteps.
But they add that they are not interested in token votes.
Senator Catherine Noone, Seanad spokesperson on European Affairs, said: "I won't turn away a vote but I don't want people to support me just because I'm a woman. I want people to support me because of the work that I do.
"Clearly there has been an absence of women at the top for too long. We need more women at the table, and that balance and equality is of the utmost important."
Josepha Madigan, Fine Gael candidate in Dublin Rathdown, says the issue has come up with the electorate in her constituency.
"Yes, it has come up, but as a woman I like to think I stand on my own credentials, everything I've achieved in my life has been on my own two feet. Most of the women running in this election are strong, competent women and I want to see them move forward," she said.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fail senator Mary White is packing a punch in her battle with burglars terrorising her neighbourhood. The 71-year-old candidate, who has experienced several attempted break-ins at her south Dublin home, has vowed to electronically tag all burglary suspects out on bail.
"I am all for tagging these people who think they can creep around in the middle of the night, robbing homes and frightening families and old people half to death," she said, calling for Stepaside garda station to re-open. "It's not just a big rural problem - it's urban, too."
Our photo by Dave Conachy shows Catherine Noone, Maria Bailey, Josepha Madigan and Anne-Marie Dermody.