Ireland still low on female politicians – RTE Political Correspondent

back row, Senator Gabrielle McFadden, front row, Mary O’Rourke and Martina Fitzgerald

Thirty-five women were elected to Dail Eireann in the 2016 General Election, but that is still low by international standards, according to RTE political correspondent and author, Martina Fitzgerald.

‘It was the first time that they got over the thirty mark, and thirty-five were elected, and more women were either added to the ticket’ or were put through the selection convention, according to Martina, whose new Irish political book, ‘Madam Politician’ is now No. 1 in the Irish non-fiction hardback bestseller lists.

Speaking to David Flynn of, Martina said that now twenty two percent of Dail politicians are women.

“That is historic, but it is low by international standards in Britain and Europe,” said Martina. “2016 is now a starting point, and where the 1992 election had twenty women elected, the same number was elected five years later in 1997, so that was a false dawn. There is a concern that this could also be a false dawn.”

She talked about Josepha Madigan, Dublin Rathdown TD, who was put on the ticket under the gender quota ruling, still having to go out on the campaign trail and get elected.

“More than eighty percent of female politicians came through the local election route, and in cabinet there is still only four women Ministers,” she said. “Most of the women I interviewed are against gender quotas at cabinet, and some like Mary O’Rourke are against them full stop.”

Martina said that former politicians, Mary Coughlan, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn and Mary Hanafin were originally against gender quotas but they have all changed their minds, as they previously believed there would be more women in politics by now.

“Mary Hanafin said that she wouldn’t like to see them (the quotas for Dáil candidates) go beyond forty percent, which will happen in 2023,” said Martina. “More women have definitely come on board as a result of gender quotas and one of them is now a Minister (Madigan).”





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