News Elections

Saturday 30 August 2014

Women make better choices, say voters

Niall O'Connor, Political Correspondent

Published 19/05/2014 | 02:30

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Senator Averil  Power
Senator Averil Power

SEVEN out of 10 voters believe their local authority would make better decisions if it had more female councillors, a new opinion poll reveals.

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The survey illustrates a strong desire among the electorate for greater female representation in local politics.

Some 69pc of those surveyed believe their local authority would deliver better outcomes for communities if more seats were occupied by women.

The poll, commissioned on behalf of 'Women For Election', also shows that the majority of voters (58pc) would opt for a female candidate over a male if both were of equal merit. And it reveals that the electorate overestimates the number of women that occupy council seats.

Just 17pc of council seats across Ireland are filled by women. Female representation has proven an issue for a number of political parties ahead of this week's elections, particularly Fianna Fail.

Prominent senator Averil Power recently received a dressing down from Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin after she criticised the party's policy on gender quotas.

Fianna Fail has selected just one female candidate in the European elections, and a mere 17pc of its local election candidates are female, despite setting a target of 33pc.

Ms Power incurred the wrath of Mr Martin after she wrote an article in the 'Irish Times' that criticised the party's failure to attract more women candidates.

Co-founder of 'Women for Election' Niamh Gallagher said that Friday represents a crucial opportunity for the electorate to ensure the low number of women in councils is increased. "Almost seven in 10 believe their local council would make better decisions if there were more women councillors," she said.

Irish Independent

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