Minister for Planning and Local Government Peter Burke TD has approved funding of €150,274 to a number of political parties and an Independent Women Councillors and Oireachtas Members group to assist them in increasing the number of female candidates and councillors in the next Local Elections in 2024.
In a further element of a suite of measures recently brought forward by the Minister to increase female participation in our City and County Councils, an increased allocation has been approved following extensive engagement with the political parties.
“It is imperative that we achieve a more gender balanced political system, and the Programme for Government commits to bringing forward meaningful measures to address the deficit of women involved in both Local Government and the Oireachtas. As Minister for Local Government, I want to see our Council chambers reflecting society at large and, at present, we are failing in this objective. While I have approved significant funding to Women for Election and other interest groups since I have come to office, research has shown that it is important to support political parties and independent representative groups as these will be key players in getting more women on to our local election ballot papers. I am also progressing the provision of maternity leave for Councillors and currently working closely with the Attorney General’s Office on this matter.
“Previously, a set amount was given by my Department to each party, based simply on the number of female candidates they ran in the 2019 local elections. I felt we needed a more prescriptive scheme, with funding linked to targeted measures and tangible outcomes. As such, the political parties involved in the scheme have been asked to clearly set out a strategic timeline over the next three years as to how they will support and prepare female candidates to run in the local elections in 2024. We have seen in the General Election that when you have more females on the ballot, you have more females elected.”
“A wide variety of activities are due to be funded, including hosting women’s conferences, employing dedicated gender/diversity staff within parties, hosting policy and training workshops, as well as recruitment campaigns both in person and online.”
“I look forward to continued collaboration with political parties and independent groups. We must achieve increased numbers of female councillors, along with an enhanced and more balanced political system on the back of this.”
Notes for editors:
Total amount requested
Funding previously received
*Previous allocation is carried over from the previous year.
Rationale for approval of funding
The total funding allocated this year is €150,274, substantially more in comparison to previous years. However, through the Department’s engagement with the political parties, a common theme in the feedback received was that increased funding was required to ensure more effective and tangible outcomes. This engagement resulted in a range of interesting and focused proposals. The submissions received set out more extensive activities than in previous years, clearly outlining substantial programmes of work that justify the additional spend. These will contribute considerably to our mutual objectives of increasing gender balance and diversity in local government.
In considering the proposals outlined which have a targeted focus on the 2024 local elections, all projects will help to increase the pipeline of female candidates through various activities such as recruitment, capacity building, training, networking and providing support to potential candidates and female party members.