Tuesday 27 September 2016

Fianna Fáil insists gender quota of 30pc female candidates will be hit

Published 16/09/2015 | 02:30

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and (left to right) Deputy John Browne, Senator Denis O’Donovan, Senator Mary White and Deputy Michael McGrath speak to the media at the conclusion of the party think-in at the Marine Hotel, Sutton yesterday
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and (left to right) Deputy John Browne, Senator Denis O’Donovan, Senator Mary White and Deputy Michael McGrath speak to the media at the conclusion of the party think-in at the Marine Hotel, Sutton yesterday

Fianna Fáil insists the party will hit the gender quota target of 30pc female candidates in the General Election.

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Party TDs and senators gathered in the Marine Hotel in Sutton, north Dublin, to discuss election strategy on the second day of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party think-in.

Members were told that election planning is at an advanced stage, and the party will be ready to go to the polls by the end of next month.

The party has selected 46 candidates to date and still has to hold 10 selection conventions in the coming weeks.

Despite fears that the party would fail to meet the gender quota, members were told a number of female candidates will be added to tickets once the conventions have been completed.

“There will be a scattering of additions in the next two weeks and we will get to the 30pc or above quota on women,” a senior Fianna Fáil figure told the Irish Independent.

The source added: “Women will be added to constituencies where it is appropriate. There will be no one parachuted in.

It will be all women who are very active in the party or are who sitting or former councillors.”

Fianna Fáil general secretary Sean Dorgan and Cork North West TD Michael Moynihan outlined the party’s election strategy.

There is an expectation within the party that Taoiseach Enda Kenny will announce a November election– despite his insistence it will not be until next year.

Speaking at the away day, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin attacked the Government over housing and Irish Water.

Mr Martin said Tánaiste Joan Burton’s  “head is in the sand” on rent allowance measures that she introduced.

He also said Irish Water is the first tax “in the history of the State” which resulted in the Government losing money.

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said the Government refused to give

his party details of how it reached the €1bn cost of

abolishing Irish Water.

Mr McGrath said the Coalition’s introduction of water charges is in “tatters” after the Eurostat ruling meant the cost of Irish Water would remain on the State’s balance sheet.

Fianna Fáil Senator Mary White, who is the only woman in the parliamentary party, said there is still a “serious

unemployment” issue in the country, with some 19.5pc of young people currently without jobs.

“Every time I go out canvassing, parents say to me my child is out of university two years and has no job,” Ms White said.

She also called for changes to inheritance tax rules.

The party heard a presentation from Irish Farmers Association president Eddie Downey and the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland at the last think-in before the Dáil.

Irish Independent

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