'We need balance' - Women's caucus launched in bid for equal representation in Limerick

There are currently nine female councillors on the 39-member Limerick City and County Council.
'We need balance' - Women's caucus launched in bid for equal representation in Limerick

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Francis Foley (centre) at the Launch of Limerick Women's Caucus with (left to right) Limerick Councillors Olivia O'Sullivan, Elena Secas, Sharon Benson, Brigid Teefy, Bridie Collins, Sasa Novak Uí Chonchúir and Sarah Kiely. Also pictured (fourth from right) is author and historian Sharon Slater.

A group aiming for equal representation of women and men on Limerick’s local authority has been launched.

There are currently nine female councillors on the 39-member Limerick City and County Council. The new cross-party grouping called the Limerick Women’s Caucus aims to attract more women into politics in the area.

Speaking at the launch on Thursday, the Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Francis Foley said: “We need greater representation from women on Limerick City and County Council. Census 2022 found that there are slightly more women than men living in Limerick, yet only nine of our 39 councillors are women. 

"For society to develop and prosper in a much more equitable and representative fashion, we need to have more women represented.” 

The 2022 census showed that the number of women in Limerick was slightly higher than the number of men - 50.24% women compared to 49.76% men.

Chair of the Limerick Women’s Caucus, Cllr Sarah Kiely, said: “We need balance. Nine women out of 39 councillors needs to be improved. Councillors are very close to the electorate, we are your voice. We are the closest to democracy; we are the closest to the citizens of Limerick. 

"Therefore, I would encourage any woman who is involved in community groups, and other organisations to take that step. We are the leaders within our communities and this should be reflected on our Council.” 

The Limerick Women’s Caucus is one of the first such groupings to be established by a local authority in Ireland. The government has allocated €62,000 to 16 organisations, including Limerick City and County Council, to develop similar groups in their areas.

A Women’s Caucus is already in place in Cork City Council. In 2017, the Irish Women's Parliamentary Caucus was established.

The aim of the caucuses is to provide a cross-party forum for female politicians to discuss and campaign on issues predominantly affecting women.

Oireachtas Joint Committee on Gender Equality

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Gender Equality yesterday that promotional bias is preventing women getting into leadership roles and on to company boards.

Mr Varadkar said there are fewer women working at senior levels within companies, which he said is not due to lack of opportunities.

He also told the Joint Committee on Gender Equality that barriers faced by women at lower levels are unlikely to be resolved by bringing in mandatory board quotas.

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