Monday 16 July 2018

Varadkar under fire over lack of women in Irish delegation at 'historic' Stormont talks

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley pictured meeting with the Prime Minister Theresa May and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar inside Stormont House.
Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley pictured meeting with the Prime Minister Theresa May and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar inside Stormont House. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Former Tánaiste Joan Burton has branded the government a disgrace for not having more female representation in Stormont yesterday for talks on forming a Government in Northern Ireland.

Ms Burton raised the issue in the Dáil today after seeing a photograph of the Irish delegation who visited Belfast yesterday. It included six men and no women.

The Labour TD said it was particularly disappointing to see no women involved on the Irish side of the table because the Oireachtas is commemorating the 100th anniversary of women being granted a parliamentary vote in Ireland and she called for “gender sensitivity”.

UK prime minister Theresa May led a British delegation with Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley at Stormont yesterday. They sat opposite an Irish delegation of six men during discussions.

Delegations from the DUP and Sinn Féin were both led by women, Arlene Foster and Mary Lou McDonald.

“It is not beyond the wit of Ireland to have two or three women on that delegation and at that meeting,” said Ms Burton.

“As you arrange these photo ops so meticulously, what happened yesterday?

“It is a historic meeting and it is just a disgrace that there were no women in that picture.

“I think you owe us an explanation in the chamber.

“It is not acceptable at this level, given the amount of time you put in to planning your media and communications.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar did not respond to Ms Burton’s question about gender sensitivity.

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