Minister Peter Burke has this evening accepted the prestigious award for Innovation in Politics in Brussels, on behalf of the Irish organisation See Her Elected, which is fully funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

See Her Elected (SHE) was selected as a finalist in the Innovation in Politics Awards, chosen by a jury of 1,032 European citizens.  The awards recognise courageous and creative political projects in Europe, regardless of their party affiliation or level of government.

Speaking from Brussels after the announcement was made, Minister of State for Planning and Local Government said he was thrilled with the news, commending the team at SHE for their hard work and commitment

“I am delighted with the news that SHE has won the overall Innovation in Politics Award in the democracy category, and from working with them over the last eighteen months, I am not surprised.

“SHE is a feminist, community-led, rural initiative to support women into politics. They were established in 2019 to tackle the lack of female representation in politics, particularly in the midlands and north west where anything from 78% to 95% of the elected local authority councils are made up of men.

“SHE engages directly with women in their communities through the innovative SHESchool where participants learn more about local government, active citizenship and explore how they can overcome the barriers that face many women who are interested in participating in electoral politics.

“Coming from a rural background and prioritising the issue of gender equality in Local Government, I have been delighted to support and collaborate with SHE through funding their programmes and engaging with them in relation to research and development of policy.

“It is a priority of the Irish Government to achieve gender balance in both local and national politics and attract people from diverse backgrounds.  In the last year, I have allocated funding to Women for Election, our Local Authorities, the National Women’s Council of Ireland, political parties and organisations such as SHE.  We have commissioned research on the barriers to engagement in politics and improved the terms and conditions for Councillors.  I soon am bringing forward proposals for maternity leave for Councillors, which is a long overdue policy requirement.

“I again congratulate Dr. Michelle Maher and all the team at She and commend them for their invaluable contribution to Irish politics.  I look forward to continued collaboration, as there is still much work to do to make our council chambers reflect the societies they serve.”