Wednesday 22 November 2017

FG needs 12 female election candidates or it will lose €2m

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

Phil Hogan and Enda Kenny will have to find at least a dozen women to run for Fine Gael in the next general election -- or else their party will lose €2m.

The arrival of gender quotas, the changes to the new political map and the abolition of the Seanad will spark an internal "bloodbath" in the main parties, experts say.

Plans to reduce the number of TDs by eight and changes to the electoral map will put even more pressure on parties.

Between them, Fine Gael, the Labour Party, Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and the Green Party will have to find up to 40 new women to run as candidates.

And this will mean keeping some men off the tickets.

Funding

Under new laws being brought in by Mr Hogan, the Environment Minister, parties that fail to run at least 30pc female candidates will lose half their taxpayer funding after the next election. In Fine Gael's case, this equates to more than €2m.

Based on figures from the last election, UCC Department of Government lecturer Fiona Buckley, said Fine Gael would need another 15 female candidates. Given the likely reduction in the numbers of TDs, meaning the party will run less candidates, Ms Buckley says Fine Gael will still need about a dozen new female candidates.

Fianna Fail also has to substantially increase the number of women on the ticket by adding about 10 candidates. Labour, Sinn Fein and the Greens have smaller gaps to bridge. Ms Buckley equates the increase across the five parties to having one extra female candidate in every one of the 40 constituencies, but she says it won't be that simple.

"With the Seanad possibly being abolished plus the candidate quotas, it will make the candidate selection process very interesting. I would say there will be a bloodbath in certain locations," she said.

Meanwhile, after being dealt a heavy blow by the redraw of his constituency this week, Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer had a change of fortune yesterday when his brother, John Buttimer, became Lord Mayor of Cork.

Irish Independent

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