Women’s Council want boycott of Open at Portmarnock

THE National Women’s Council are planning a campaign of protest at the choice of Portmarnock Golf Club to host next year’s Nissan Irish Open over its failure to admit female members.

The council has also urged Bord Fáilte to review its sponsorship of the event, and wants the public to boycott the event.

“Portmarnock is one of only two golf clubs in the state which still operates a ban on women members,” Ms Joanna McMinn, Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) said yesterday. “It is an insult and an outrage that women continue to be banned from the golf club. The NWCI is appalled that Bord Fáilte is supporting such blatant sexism and discrimination. Bord Fáilte should withdraw its sponsorship of the Irish Open golf championship.”

It is believed €250,000 of State funding is being ploughed into the 2003 Open.

“The NWCI opposes the staging of the Irish Open in Portmarnock and supports our sister organisation in the US in opposing the Masters at Augusta National, which also bans women,” declared Ms McMinn.

Women’s Groups in the US are putting pressure on CEOs of major corporations who are members of the prestigious Georgia club in a bid to force Augusta to accept female members. Failing that, American women’s groups are set to picket the Masters if the club doesn’t change its policy before next April.

The (NWCI) say they have specific strategies in place to show their resistance to the competition next July.

Council chairperson, Grainne Healy, expressed “shock and outrage” at the decision, especially as Sports Minister John O’Donoghue previously held the portfolio of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

“A letter has gone to Bord Fáilte and to the minister expressing our concerns. If this continues, then there is no way we can remain silent. This is an issue about discrimination and about public funding. These are things which we will continue to highlight,” she said.

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