A number of representatives of the North West 5050 group attended the February County Council meeting in Lifford. 5050 is a single national advocacy group dedicated to achieving equal representation in Irish politics. We were welcomed by the Mayor and found the morning both informative and interesting.
However we came away disappointed at the ‘carry on’ of a number of Councillors and aghast that the business of the day can so easily be hijacked by individual posturing and aggressive behaviour.
As ‘Democracy’ was a much mentioned term within the chamber I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the following:
“Equality of representation between women and men is a pre-requisite to participative
democracy. In its absence, the needs and priorities of one section of the population continue
to be ‘represented’ by another.”
[“Balances along the Border” Marie Crawley & Louise O Meara]
It is very disappointing we only have 6 female candidates selected to date for County Donegal in the Local Elections, with currently only 2 female candidates out of 29 in Donegal County Council. According to Dr Adrian Kavanagh’s (Maynooth College) to date there are only 358 females selected or declared nationally (23.1 %), so we have a long way to go to attain a participative democracy.
The question remains, what are the parties doing to encourage and support female candidates? Many parties have Equality Policies which look good on paper. What obviously seems to be lacking is the will or the way to implement a fair deal for women.
Finola Brennan,5050 North West Group NCCWN-Donegal Women’s Network 6 Tir Chonaill Street Donegal Town Co. Donegal T: 074 9722790 E: firstname.lastname@example.org