Women ‘seen and not heard’ in Fine Gael

The Taoiseach has been urged to end his party’s "hypocrisy" towards gender equality and show young women that Fine Gael can be a party for them.

The comments were made in a resignation letter to Enda Kenny from the chair of the party’s women’s group, Galway businesswoman Frances Cahill.

Ms Cahill handed in her resignation before the controversies surrounding the over-looking of two women in choosing John Mcnulty as the Fine Gael nominee for the Seanad by-election.

Mr Kenny also came under criticism from the National Women’s Council, among others, for his failure to promote any women to the junior ministerial ranks in his July reshuffle.

It has emerged that Ms Cahill raised concerns with Mr Kenny and the general secretary, tom curran, in an e-mail in august 2012.

in her resignation letter, Ms Cahill said the women’s group was “to be seen and not heard” within the party. the group is now on “hold” and Fine Gael has hired outside consultants, from a company called equality strategies, to advise it on how to change its structures.

RTÉ’s This Week programme reported that Ms Cahill had told Mr Kenny: “I feel that there is a huge level of hypocrisy within the organisation, especially with gender equality.

“Here we are, trying to promote more females into the party, and our own women’s group is treated like second class citizens, which I think is a disgrace.

“I became chair in 2008, and maybe came into this with rose-tinted glasses, thinking I could help make a change for female members of the party and bring fresh ideas and young people. well, how stupid was I.”

She said attempts to reform and modernise the women’s group, which she had favoured, were resisted by “old-school” party members.

Ms Cahill also called on Mr Kenny to oversee positive changes within the party to assist female members.

“I am glad I got the opportunity to work with Fine Gael during the successful years and wish you all the best,” she said.

“But please, for the sake of all females out there trying to prove themselves in society, and especially in the workplace, let them see that Fine Gael can be the party for women.”


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