Micháel Martin: Cabinet ‘should be 50% female’

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said he would like to see half of the cabinet made up of women if he was made taoiseach after the next general election.

Mr Martin made his comments as he launched a report on recruiting female candidates and measures to support women politicians.

He said women would be fielded for Fianna Fáil in 20 to 27 constituencies at the next election. In several areas, only women will be put on the ticket.

Mr Martin said mentoring programmes and workshops would be provided for female candidates.

He also said party headquarters may overrule local selection committees and put women forward.

He said he would like to see women make up half a future cabinet: “That would very much depend on the electorate, and on getting a sufficiency of candidates elected.

"This isn’t just about nominating women to be candidates for the party, it’s very much about ensuring that the candidates get elected.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny pledged last month that, if made head of Government again, women would make up half of cabinet posts.

Mr Martin yesterday launched the Markievicz Commission report, which examined ways to boost female numbers in politics.

Commission chair Professor Yvonne Galligan said it recommended that to reach the 30% candidate gender quota in the next election, the party would select between 20 and 27 female candidates.

Prof Galligan said Fianna Fáil was not unique in, up until now, fielding low numbers of women.

The party will now field at least one female candidate in half of constituencies where it has no sitting TD.

It will also field a female candidate in half of areas where it holds one seat and where it will run more than one hopeful.

Mr Martin said the anti-social hours at Leinster House were a disincentive for women to join politics and questioned why the Dail sometimes sat until 2am. This was especially an issue for mothers, he said.

Senator Averil Power, one of only two female parliamentary party members, welcomed the report.

“The way parliament functions is incredibly anti-family. The only way it will change is when there are more females.”


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