Record 23 female TDs elected but none for FF
Published 28/02/2011 | 05:00
FIANNA Fail has failed to return a female TD to the Dail -- despite a barrier breaking election in which a record 23 women entered national politics.
And as counting continued in four constituencies last night experts predicted the final tally of women TDs could reach 26.
A tidal wave of public support for Fine Gael saw 10 of its female candidates elected, while Labour women won seven seats, Sinn Fein two, Independents two, and the United Left Alliance two.
Voter anger at Fianna Fail resulted in six of its high-profile sitting TDs being wiped out -- including Tanaiste Mary Coughlan. And its coalition partner, the Green Party, were also hit with the demise of junior minister Mary White.
The record result has meant the Dail will return with 14 new female candidates to bring the overall number of women TDs to the highest rate in the history of the State.
It comes in the wake of fears that the percentage of women returned to the Dail would be smaller than in previous years.
In this election just 86 -- or 15.2pc -- of the 566 election candidates were women.
More women ran than in 2007, but the overall female percentage dropped by 2pc. More than 14pc of Fianna Fail's candidates were women, Fine Gael had 15.4pc, Labour fielded 26.5pc, the Green Party had 18.6pc and Sinn Fein had 19.5pc.
The low rate meant that 306,463 voters had no female candidate to choose from in Cork South-West, Kildare South, Limerick, and Roscommon-South Leitrim, as the ballots were dominated by men.
However, three of Fine Gael's sitting TDs -- Lucinda Creighton in Dublin South East, Catherine Byrne in Dublin South Central and Olivia Mitchell in Dublin South -- were elected. Two of its senators become TDs -- Frances Fitzgerald in Dublin Mid-West and Nicky McFadden in Longford-Westmeath.
It had one casualty with Deirdre Clune in Cork North-Central, but it gained five new female TDs -- Aine Collins in Cork North West, Regina Doherty in Meath East, Heather Humphreys in Cavan-Monaghan, Michelle Mulherin in Mayo and Mary Mitchell O'Connor.
Labour returned five of its sitting TDs -- Joan Burton in Dublin West, Kathleen Lynch in Cork-North Central, Jan O'Sullivan in Limerick City, Roisin Shortall in Dublin North-West and Joanna Tuffy in Dublin Mid-West.
It also saw the election of two new candidates -- Ciara Conway in Waterford and Anne Phelan in Carlow-Kilkenny.
Sitting Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan also regained her seat in Dublin Central and has been joined by Catherine Murphy in Kildare North.
The United Left Alliance also preformed well by gaining two female TDs -- Joan Collins of the People before Profit Alliance in Dublin South Central and Clare Daly of the Socialist Party in Dublin North.
And Sinn Fein's female candidates gained two seats -- Mary Lou McDonald in Dublin Central and Sandra McLellan in Cork East.