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The nine women who occupy a quarter of top female board seats in Ireland

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Directors: (L-R): Anne Heraty, Heather Ann McSharry and Joan Garaghy

Directors: (L-R): Anne Heraty, Heather Ann McSharry and Joan Garaghy

Patrick Kennedy, Linda Hickey and Margaret Sweeney.

Patrick Kennedy, Linda Hickey and Margaret Sweeney.

Roisin Brennan, Rose Hynes and Siobhan Talbot

Roisin Brennan, Rose Hynes and Siobhan Talbot

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Directors: (L-R): Anne Heraty, Heather Ann McSharry and Joan Garaghy

The dramatic increase in the share of women on Irish corporate boards is dominated by a handful of senior executives who have broken through the glass ceiling.

A quarter of top board seats occupied by women in Ireland are held by a core group of just nine people, according to research carried out by the Irish Independent.

Women held just 8pc of directorships in stock market-listed companies in 2013, but that shot up to 21pc by the start of 2020 under intense pressure from corporate governance experts, regulators and lobby groups like Women on Boards and The 30pc Club.