Thursday 23 February 2017

Parties must meet gender quota to get funding

Lyndsey Telford

Corporate donations over €200 will be banned unless the donors meet strict conditions under a new law published yesterday.

Parties will also have their State funding slashed in half if at least three out of every 10 of their candidates are not women.

Details of donors will also be included on a register on the website of the State ethics watchdog, the Standards In Public Office Commission.

These measures will apply to all corporate and unincorporated bodies, which include companies, trade unions, trusts, clubs, building societies and non-governmental organisations.

The limit of political donations will be reduced from €6,348 to €2,500 for every political party. There will also be a drop in the thresholds at which donations must be declared.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan published the new reforms to boost gender equality in politics starting with fines for those failing to come up to the mark.

"This legislation will change the face of politics forever," he said.

Mr Hogan said the new legislation will ensure that the female quota rises to 30pc at the next election.

Published

There are currently 25 female TDs -- just over 15pc of Dail Eireann.

The Bill also included the reform of political funding and corporate donations.

This will see donations being restricted, political party accounts published, and the maximum amount that can be accepted as a political donation will be cut by more than half.

Meanwhile, the National Women's Council of Ireland pointed out that the current figure of 15pc women in the Dail puts Ireland just ahead of Zimbabwe in terms of gender balance in politics.

Eoin Murray, the organisation's first ever male campaigner, said the council was delighted at the new legislation.

Mr Murray said the gender quota should be welcomed, despite some politicians claiming that suitability for a job should be based on their ability and not their sex. He criticised past comments from women, including European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton, in which they opposed gender quotas on that basis.

"That's a real 'I'm all right Jill' attitude. They are saying, 'I've succeeded, therefore other women should succeed'," said Mr Murray.

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News