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Dáil gender divide as men have double the wealth of women TDs


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A valuation of the estimated worth of the country's most senior politicians has revealed a significant gender divide among male and female TDs.

The new research shows the total financial value of assets owned by 123 male TDs is €186m, while the estimated worth of the Dáil's 35 female politicians is just €30m.

This means the average value of assets owned by male politicians (€1.5m) is almost double that of their female counterparts (€857,000).

The 'Sunday Independent's' Political Rich List also found there are 73 TDs estimated to be worth more than €1m but only 11 are female politicians.

Former Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is the highest ranked female TD at 18th with an estimated value of €3m.

Another former Tánaiste, Joan Burton, is ranked 22nd with assets estimated to be worth €2.9m.

The assets of three female Cabinet ministers are valued at more than €1m - Children's Minister Katherine Zappone (€1.6m), Culture and Heritage Minister Josepha Madigan (€1.4m) and Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell-O'Connor (€1.2m).

There are no female Fianna Fáil TDs worth more than €1m. The party's highest ranked female member is Waterford TD Mary Butler, who is estimated to be worth €378,000.

Meanwhile, 11 male Cabinet ministers are worth more than €1m.

Education Minister Richard Bruton is the third wealthiest politician in the Dáil with an estimated value of €4.9m.

This includes a public service pension which would cost more than €3m to buy in the private market. Mr Bruton also has property and land estimated to be worth around €1.7m, and a portfolio of company shares valued at €117,000.

Transport Minister Shane Ross is the second wealthiest Cabinet member with an estimated value of €3.7m.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is valued at €1.2m, while Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is estimated to be worth €3m.

The research project by the 'Sunday Independent' and financial analyst Karl Deeter examined several sources of publicly available information to determine the value of assets owned by the country's most senior politicians.

It found central to the net worth of most TDs is the gold-plated public service pensions they are entitled to on retiring from political life.

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny has a pension which would cost €3.3m to buy in the private market, while former finance minister Michael Noonan's is valued €2.7m.

Both politicians are not contesting the next election and will be entitled to draw down their pensions once the current Dáil dissolves.

Controversial Independent TD Michael Lowry is estimated to be the Dáil's wealthiest politician, with €6.4m.

The figure represents the combined value of Mr Lowry's pension (€2.1m), business (€2.2m) and property (€2.1m).

Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae is ranked second on the list with an estimated value of €5.4m.

Mr Healy-Rae is the Dáil's biggest landlord with property and land valued at more than €4m.

Fine Gael is the wealthiest political party with all 50 TDs having a combined wealth of €80m.

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