'Colleague told me that women are in politics to make the tea', says councillor
Published 20/07/2015 | 02:30
Ireland's youngest elected female politician has hit out at alleged sexist remarks made during her first year in office.
Lisa Marie Sheehy (21) claims that male councillors made comments about her appearance and she was told that "women are only in politics to make the tea".
The Sinn Féin councillor told the Irish Independent that she wants to raise the issue at a national level.
Ms Sheehy was elected to Limerick City and County Council last May and called the behaviour of certain councillors since then "offensive" and "inappropriate".
In one instance, Ms Sheehy claimed that her appearance was commented on when she wore a blazer with black shorts and opaque black tights.
"It's treated as a bit of fun ... You hear questions like: 'How can you concentrate when people are dressed like that?'"
She also alleged that another councillor said: "Women are only in politics to make tea.
"It shocked me that they think this is acceptable. I wasn't expecting this kind of ignorance."
Her comments mark the latest chapter in the ongoing debate about bringing more women into political life.
Ms Sheehy decided not to name those involved, and said they had apologised when she confronted them.
"I don't want to make it a party-political issue. The message I'm trying to get across is that it's a national issue."
However, the third-year UCC student said that she would officially report any sexist behaviour in future.
Among the 40 members of Limerick City and County Council, six councillors are women.
Labour councillor Elena Secas said she was "surprised" to hear Ms Sheehy's allegations.
"I had not experienced that, but it's very sad to read," she said.
Mayor of Limerick City and County Council Liam Galvin, of Fine Gael, said he was dismayed at the allegations of sexist comments.
"I am very disappointed. That shouldn't happen," he said.
A spokesperson for Limerick City and County Council said that the body had not received any formal complaints in relation to Ms Sheehy's claims. However, it stated that it strongly condemned sexist language or behaviour in any context, "were it to take place within the council chamber or elsewhere".