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Humphreys: 'It's hard to find female candidates'

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Business and Enterprise Minister Heather Humphreys. Photo: Justin Farrelly.

Business and Enterprise Minister Heather Humphreys. Photo: Justin Farrelly.

Business and Enterprise Minister Heather Humphreys. Photo: Justin Farrelly.

Minster Heather Humphreys admits it is a struggle to get women to run in the local elections.

She said it's "not always the right time for them" and some feel the time commitment is too much if they have small children and a full-time job.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the target is for at least a third of Fine Gael's candidates to be women. He said it's "a struggle but we're determined to press ahead with that".

Business and Enterprise Minister Ms Humphreys said there were women running for council seats in her native Monaghan, but there was still one electoral district that as yet had no female candidates.

She said: "I'll be very frank with you here. It's very difficult.

"I approached a number of really good women to find out would they be interested in allowing their name to go forward and it wasn't the right time for them."

She added: "It's not always easy, because women with small children sometimes feel that the time commitment is just too much, and also couples with a full-time job. It's difficult."

She said women should have confidence that they can succeed in politics: "There is nothing mysterious about this job. It's an honour to do it but I have no doubt there are so many capable women that are out there and probably don't have the confidence to come forward."

Asked if she would like to be the first woman to lead Fine Gael at some stage in the future, she responded: "Are you joking me? I'm very happy to do what I'm doing."

On the prospect of becoming the first woman Taoiseach, she said: "I don't think so."

Asked why not, she replied: "Well, I shouldn't say no, I don't think so... nobody ever knows. I never started off my life with a plan that I was going to go into politics.

"I will always take whatever opportunity comes my way."

Irish Independent