A Kerry politician claims he is the victim of “discrimination” after he was dropped as a candidate for next year’s local elections.
Pat Hussey, the mayor of Tralee, said Fine Gael’s “ridiculous” gender quotas could lead to many situations where “you could have a fantastic candidate overlooked for someone who doesn’t know anything at all about politics”.
He said he was in favour of increasing female representation in politics but “they have families and if they want to be politicians they’ll have to pay exorbitant money into creches — it’s all wrong”.
Mr Hussey, Jim Finucane, Pat McCarthy, Mairead Fernane, and Grace O’Donnell put their names forward for the Tralee Electoral Area convention on Friday.
It was announced at the meeting that the gender quota directive would be implemented, meaning at least one of the three candidates going forward would have to be female.
Mr Hussey subsequently withdrew his name because he strongly disagrees with the gender quota directive.
He said it was “degrading” to have to go through the process of putting himself forward, when it was already predetermined that a woman would have to be selected.
“I can’t see why you have to put in a gender balance,” he said. “If women want to join political parties, they will join political parties. I fail to see the logic of it. It’s pure tokenism and even some of women I have spoken to agree that it’s ridiculous.”
Mayor of Tralee Pat Hussey FG falls victim to the gender quota for next year's local election. The first of many? #Kerry— Jerry O'Sullivan (@jerosullivanRK) November 18, 2013
Under legislation announced last year, parties will have to ensure that 30% of their candidates are women at the next general election, but most parties will implement it voluntarily for the local elections next year.
Mr Hussey said he disagreed with Friday’s ruling, because there is no obligation for Fine Gael to implement the quota next year. He also believes it is “hypocritical” because “I was told the women’s movement in FG was disbanded a few years ago”.
Mr Hussey, a Fine Gael politician of 35 years, said his comments were “not about sour grapes”.
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