Sunday 15 September 2019

Varadkar makes 'special effort' to have 20 Fine Gael female TDs after election

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Fine Gael is aiming to have 20 female TDs in the Dáil after the next general election.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has indicated he wants to almost double the number of women in his party's ranks.

Currently Fine Gael has the largest number of female TDs in Leinster House - but this still amounts to just 11.

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone also supports the Government, but she is an Independent.

Mr Varadkar has repeatedly refused to allow himself be tied to a 50/50 gender spilt in his Cabinet.

However, he said he is working to get more women involved in politics.

"There are 12 women TDs who support the Government who voted for me as Taoiseach and out of those 12 seven are ministers, so if you are a female TD who votes for me as Taoiseach... it ain't bad odds.

"I do lead a party, Fine Gael, which has more female TDs than any other party," he said.

The Taoiseach was speaking at an event where he launched a plan to boost gender equality in third-level institutions.

Under the gender quota rules for general elections, the parties must have at least 30pc female candidates on the ballot.

Fine Gael has tasked Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty with leading "special efforts" to help its party cohort get elected.

"So that's what needs to be done, we need many more TDs who are female, many more senators who are female so we get to that point where therefore we can have many more women around the Cabinet table and that's what I want to achieve," Mr Varadkar said.

He added that he is "really encouraged" by the recent US elections where "we saw so many women elected to Congress, so let's have an election like that in Ireland next time it comes".

Irish Independent

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