Fine Gael Kildare South TD, Martin Heydon, today (Wednesday) voiced his concerns over the proposed provisions for achieving gender balance in Irish politics and called on the measures to be extended and introduced at local election level.

“The current proposals for each political party to have at least 30% of both male and female candidates apply to Dáil elections only, and do not take account of the low female representation at local level.

“Women have been under-represented at a local level for many years now, accounting for only 16% of all members of local authorities following the 2009 elections. Experience as a local public representative has been an invaluable stepping stone and powerful learning tool for many subsequent TDs. More local female councillors would result in more female TDs.

“If we are serious about gender balance, this provision should be extended. My biggest fear is that we introduce a 30% requirement for female candidates at the next general election and the majority of them do not get elected or are seen as token candidates. That would be much more damaging than where we are now.”

Contact: Martin Heydon 087-6262546