Minister for Planning and Local Government Peter Burke TD has allocated €150,274 to eight political parties and an Independent Women Councillors group to increase the number of female candidates and councillors after the next Local Election.

In a further element of a suite of measures recently brought forward by the Minister to increase female participation in our City and County Councils, an increased budget has been approved due to advice received from all parties that additional resources were necessary in order to support more candidates to run in the 2024 elections.

“It is imperative that we achieve a more gender balanced political system, and the Programme for Government commits to bringing forward meaningful measures to address the lack of women involved in both Local Government and the Oireachtas.  As Minister for Local Government, I want to see our Council chambers reflecting society at large, and at present, we are failing in this objective.  I have recently allocated significant funding for Women for Election and other interest groups, but it is important to fund political parties and independent organisations, as these organisations will be key players in getting more women on our local election ballot papers.

“Previously, a set amount was given by my Department to each party, based simply on the number of female candidates they ran.  I felt we needed a more prescriptive scheme, with funding linked to targeted measures and tangible outcomes.  As such, the political parties involved in the scheme have been asked to clearly set out a strategic timeline over the next three years as to how they will support and prepare female candidates to run in the local elections in 2024.  We have seen in the General Election that when you have more females on the ballot, you have more females elected.

“My Department received applications from Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, the Labour Party, Sinn Fein, the Green Party, Solidarity PBP, the Social Democrats, Housing Rights Alliance and the Independent Women Councillors and Oireachtas Members Group.  All were independently reviewed and successful in their applications, bar the Social Democrats who had yet to draw down funding allocated to them last year.

“A wide variety of activities are due to be funded, including hosting women’s conferences, employing gender/diversity staff within parties, hosting policy and training workshops as well as recruitment campaigns both in person and online.

“I look forward to continued collaboration with political parties and independent groups to ensure we can achieve increased numbers of female councillors, and a political system which will improve on the back of this. I am also working on a series of other initiatives such as introducing maternity leave for councillors, and I currently am awaiting advice from the Attorney General’s Office on this matter.

-ENDS-

 

Notes for editors:

Party Total amount requested Suggested Funding Funding previously received
Fine Gael 93,324 36,015 17,700
Fianna Fáil 36,880 30,380 13,050
Green Party 43,500 28,000 9,000
Sinn Fein 24,000 15,000 19,250
Labour Party 34,174 23,809 11,250
Solidarity/PBP 8,050 8,050 7,000
Social Democrats 8,000 Nil* 8,000
Housing Rights 3,620 3,620 500
Independents 5,400 5,400 Nil
256,948 150,274 85,750

*Previous allocation remains unspent

 

Rationale for approval of funding

The total figure allocated it €150,274.  It is noted that this is substantially more funding allocated in comparison to previous years.  However, through the Department’s engagement with the political parties, a common theme in the feedback received was that increased funding was required to ensure more effective and tangible outcomes.

In considering the proposals outlined which have a targeted focus on the 2024 local elections, all projects will help to increase the pipeline of female candidates through various activities such as recruitment, capacity building, training, networking and providing support to potential candidates and female party members.