Friday 18 October 2019

Some towns have more Pats and Michaels on ballot than women


First-timer: Donna Sheridan is standing in Castlebar, Co Mayo
First-timer: Donna Sheridan is standing in Castlebar, Co Mayo

Aine Kenny

Joes, Pats and Michaels are outnumbering women in some of the local election races.

There are 16 of the local electorate areas (LEAs) with only one female candidate, and six have no female candidates at all.

And there are six LEAs around the country that have more men with the same first name than women running.

Joes, Pats, Peters, Michaels and Brendans outnumber the women in Castlecomer, Castlebar, Killaloe, Loughrea, Clane and Kells.

Castlecomer is a town with more Pats and Michaels than women running - but Kilkenny councillor Mary Hilda Cavanagh is remaining positive, having retained her seat for 40 years.

"It is challenging being the only woman," she says. "I think the overall decision-making is definitely affected by a lack of women sitting on the council. We see things from a different perspective."

Meanwhile, in Castlebar, Donna Sheridan is the only woman running. She is a first-time candidate for Fine Gael.

"It is difficult for women to get a start in politics," Ms Sheridan says.

"But on the doorstep, it's been mainly positive. People are saying it's great to see a woman and someone young on the ballot."

In Cork county, Melissa Mullane is the only woman contesting Mallow. The Sinn Féin councillor said the lack of representation of women in her area was disappointing.

Irish Independent

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