Fine Gael’s new front bench announced: male, stale and pale?

by David Farrell (July 1, 2010)

The Fine Gael leader announced his new front bench earlier today. The details are as follows:

Enda Kenny Leader / Northern Ireland

Sean Barrett Foreign Affairs

Richard Bruton Enterprise, Jobs & Economic Planning (including public service reform)

Catherine Byrne Older Citizens

Simon Coveney Transport

Deirdre Clune Innovation & Research

Jimmy Deenihan Tourism, Culture & Sport

Andrew Doyle Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

Frank Feighan Community, Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs

Charlie Flanagan Children

Phil Hogan Environment, Heritage & Local Government

Paul Kehoe Chief Whip (with responsibility for political reform)

Michael Noonan Finance

Fergus O’Dowd Education & Skills

John Perry Small Business

James Reilly Deputy Leader & Health & Children, (with responsibility for policy coordination & implementation)

Michael Ring Social Protection

Alan Shatter Justice & Law Reform

David Stanton Defence

Leo Varadkar Communications & Natural Resources

Frances Fitzgerald Leader in Seanad

 Bernard Allen – Chairman of Public Accounts Committee
 Phil Hogan – Director of Elections

Plenty to pick over, but one thing that emerges pretty powerfully is the lack of women members on this list — just three out of 23 names listed. There could be any number of explanations for this, one of which undoubtedly is the small number of women in the the Fine Gael parliamentary party.  All the more reason, perhaps, to regret the failure of the party leadership to push through proposals for gender quotas.

Surely, something that should be rectified, not parked and put to one side…?

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44 thoughts on “Fine Gael’s new front bench announced: male, stale and pale?

  1. Nor has he given any indication of a new agenda that he would set in government. With Noonan and Barrett he’s given high profile jobs to two people who might have retired at the next election. He could have split Finance into a planning function and a budgetary function, giving planning to Bruton who’d have a major policy input, allow the more aggressive Noonan to shadow Lenihan, and with Varadkar retaining his post, could have had a competent economic triumvirate.

    What the logic of giving Catherine Byrne a job is probably related to her being a woman and in Dublin, and close to Brian Hayes…but this is quota filling, because she’s among the more conservative members of FG, thus unlikely to gaining back the liberal voters the party has lost to Labour.

    It’s a pity David Stanton didn’t get political reform – he seemed more interested in the subject than Phil Hogan, and I suspect Paul Kehoe (who must be pretty disappointed).

    All in all a bit conservative. He won the party, but I’m not sure he’ll win the country with this line-up.

  2. It does seem tad ironic that the woman who reputedly killed off quotas has been left on the backbenches. Although, this is perhaps more to do with Creighton’s lack of experience and right wing views, as Eoin notes the need to protect the left flank is undoubtedly key to Fine Gael’s future success (it does not have much competition from the right). Too many young right wingers would be music to the ears of the Labour party. It is also perhaps worth noting that Kenny’s backroom boys are just that – boys. In the UK Harriet Harmon recently called for the Labour front bench to have 50:50 gender quota, even 20% representation here would be progress. I did try to see if Kehoe had any stated interest in political reform, unfortunately his website does not appear to have working links to his parliamentary questions, press releases and so on.

    • Harman also wanted the Cabinet split 50:50 which would have meant that men being underrepresented which is what quotas have always been about.

  3. Where exactly is the evidence that women in politics are any better than men – where are all the proposals from femals TDs to change the way politics is carried in Ireland.

    There are none, because like most people who get to a certain position in life, they talk about reform but fail the walk because they feel, if they had to do what they did to get there, they aren’t going to make it easy for anyone else to get where they are.

    Where is the women’s committee or group of women to come up with radical reform policies?

    The gender, location or age of the people should make not a jot of difference to who is on the front bench.

    • Where exactly is the evidence that an-all male (or almost) government is any way suited to representing the views of women? Au contraire. We have views of our own, and voices which are not being heard. We bear the burden of childminding and domestic chores (wihout payment) in addition to any paid employment we may have. It suite the establishment to categorise us as “working” or “stay-at-home”, which does not reflect the reality of our lives, and serves only to divide us, when we have mostly common concerns. THe work women traditional do is undervalued financially, and therefore undervalued as a whole in this society. Women with dependent children, working outside the home or otherwise, simply don’t have the time to actively engage in politics, regardless of motivation. We work roughly from 8a.m. to 10p.m. And those of us with us jobs outside the home often work some more after that. And we are not supported by current childcare policy. We want CHOICE. For most working mothers with pre-school children, that would be care in the home. It’s not tax-deductible. You can take the 15-20 years when we’re most politically-motivated out completely if we have children. How do you do another full-time job when you al ready have two??? Or isn’t rearing children a full-time job/ I think it is, and I’m a professional working, self-employed full-time mother. Try pigeon-holing that.

      • “We bear the burden of childminding and domestic chores (wihout payment)”

        What century do you live in? If you’re not socially evolved then dont burden the rest of us modern people.

  4. @Don I’m not sure that all women concentrate on being pretty or even that most men believe that a woman’s sole function is to look pretty?
    @Desmond I don’t think there is any evidence that women are any better or any worse than men, and in reality are probably both. But they are 50% of society. In the UK, Ed Miliband has already talked about reserving one-third of Shadow Cabinet posts for women. Lots of people, including women, hate quotas. I can see this. But I think there is an argument for quotas on candidate selection lists. Many local selectorates believe that men garner most votes but research shows this is not the case (McElroy Marsh 2010). A chance to be on the ballot of the bigger parties is surely not too much to believe desirable?

    • Hi Jane,

      I don’t really have a problem with a quota as sometimes you have to use whatever means you can
      to push an agenda. Norway has been very successful using such quota in private business and in
      politics.

      However, Ireland is not Norway and who would
      decide which women get to be part of this quota –
      the parties? And look at the calibre of women they have elected so far – I mean I don’t see any sign that the current crop come anywhere close to the likes of Monica Barnes, Nula Fennell, Gemma Hussey and even their record is patchy?

      It’s not just a matter of getting 50% women – it’s getting 50% women and 50% men but men and women
      with a wholly different mindset then the current
      lot but the current lot are a perfect reflection
      of the people who elect them – so with or without
      the quotas the gene pool to pick from isn’t exactly overflowing with talent ie the Irish people have displayed little inclination to give their vote to the sort of people we need in politics.

      • So what does one do next election? Refrain from voting because I don’t consider that any of the parties represent me or my interests? I come from a background where i was brought up to cherish a vote that was hard-fought for. the fact that women had a vote in this country from the outset was often referred to. I am effectively disenfranchised as is stands.

        Considering how long legal reform takes, we need quotas. Until we have tax-deductible childcare, a public transport system, and personal and social freedom comparable to those men I might be competing with. Dream on?

      • Cathy, you could try standing for election yourself.

        You might then have some insight into what the every day problems that candidates of either gender face.

      • @ Daniel No one is denying that all aspiring candidates face problems, but a huge body of research (both Irish and international) has shown that those problems are accentuated for women and that they are more likely to face direct and indirect discrimination on the basis of their sex.

  5. The problem isn’t that there are few women in the Oireachtas, that is merely a symptom of the real problem which is that women do not stand as candidates in elections. And that is because of problems with how politics works which dissuaded many branches of Irish society from doing the type of work that is involved in getting elected. Many people, male and female, look at the nature of whole political system and decide that it’s not worth the hassle because most of the work goes into things that they realise isn’t productive towards what politics is supposed to be about (fixing problems) and they sensibly reckon that if it’s mostly a façade then they don’t want to know. Focusing solely on gender is missing the point entirely.

    • The “hassle” factor still mitigates more against women than men. By hassle I presume you mean juggling family and other responsibilities with a potential career in politics. Most women with children, if it comes to the crunch, will prioritise children. Not focusing on gender is burying one’s head in the sand about the reality of the current situation wrt gross under- representation of women.

  6. I would have to agree with Desmond, what is the relevance of the sex of the fine gael front bench. As long as capable and committed people are given positions of authority, this country may have a chance to get out of the mire we have been driven into by Fianna Fail and their various bedfellows.

    • Meaningless platitudes. Did it ever occur to you that the absence of a uniquely female point of view from Irish politics might actually have contributed to the current situation??

      • Is there an “absence of a uniquely female point of view from Irish politics”? I would agree there is an under representation but an absence, really? Or are you just over egging that particular pudding a wee bit?

  7. @Jane,

    I have not yet been given a rational reason to support gender quoatas or to vote for a woman over a man. So I can only assume that one would want gender quoatas for a totally irrational reason.

    I’m pro-hunting. The only female candidates available to be were anti-hunting. So I obviously see massive disadvantage to having gender quoatas if it meant we would have more anti-hunting candidates, or reps that have been elected by the people.

    However I would vote for Thatcher or Palin if they came knocking on my door. But I would not like to rig the elections i.e. with gender quoatas, in order to get them elected.

    Why not a private sector quoata? If there’s anyone under represented in the Dail it is the private sector worker.

    • Do you have a rational explanation for the absence of women from Irish politics? There are many, and that is why gender quotas need to be introduced. until Irish women have something approaching social and financial equality with Irish men. It’s largely lip-service at the moment.

      • The rational explanation being that most women arent interested. Now that the majority of university attendees are female, eventually the majority of academics and professionals will be women. When that happens more women will be available for elections. I dont see any rational reason to speed up this process.

        I dont know what you mean by social or financial equality. Legally woman have more rights then men. Like I already said, eventually more professionals will be women. Probably the legal industry will be the first to be dominated by women.

        I’m not petty enough to lobby for male quoatas.

  8. I’m with Daniel Sullivan on this one. By retaining, but demoting, the heavy-weight plotters, exiling the younger, up-and-coming plotters (who might be more repellent to Labour) and dis-interring a couple of ‘old dogs’ Kenny has twarted any possible major re-alignment of the politcial landscape and is set fair to join forces after a hard-fought election with Labour (with up to 70 and 40 seats respectively).

    Without any possibility of agreeing or enacting the radical programme of political, public sector and structural economic reforms required, with the entire machinery of government locked onto the flight path set by the current Government and with fiscal and monetary sovereignty residing, respectively, in Brussels and Frankfurt this, almost inevitable, combination will make the 1982-87 government look a paragon of good and effective governance.

    Of course it will be great fun – seeing the kind of hiding FF gets at the polls, how well FG and Labour do and how ministerial posts will be allocated to the lucky few who get to sit in the cock-pit and pretend they’re flying the plane. But after that…?

  9. Bringing more women into Irish politics is essential and affirmative action may be the only way to achieve gender parity in the future (on a temporary basis with a ‘sunset clause’ – Labour’s 2009 gender parity bill offers a good example of what we can do). Women make up 50% of the Irish population and should certainly hold more than 23 seats out of 166 on the basis of equality alone. However, a gender balance in politics is also important to ensure that female concerns and perspectives are adequately brought into parliamentary discourse and policy-making. A huge body of international research suggests that women parliamentarians, due to different socialisation and life experiences than their male colleagues, bring a different perspective to politics (I have a number of references if anyone is interested in reading further into this). Although it would be dangerous to suggest that all women MPs have shared experiences that unites them by virtue of their gender, empirical research has shown that they are more likely overall to consciously and subconsciously ‘speak for’ women and to engage with issues seen to have a particular bearing on women. In an Irish context research by Galligan et al. (2000) found that education, health and family concerns overall were ranked high on the list of priorities of female TDs. One of the aims of my own research is look at this issue in detail. My qualitative research so far suggests that a lot of female TDs do have a strong sense of gender consciousness and recognise that Irish woman have a particular set of concerns that require political representation. The majority also feel that women TDs are better qualified to understand these issues than men. We are, however, dealing in the context of very low numbers and these women are often bound by party discipline and ideology. Bringing more women into politics is not to suggest that we need women to solely act for women and men to act for men, but we do need to ensure that Irish women are adequately represented and their voice better heard in a highly male parliamentary culture.

    Interesting side point: people say that candidates should be selected to run on the basis of ‘merit’ and that gender quotas override this. The same issues of course apply to the selection of a front bench. However, recent research by Rainbow Murray on women and candidate selection in France suggests that ‘merit’ is actually a gendered concept and tends to favour politically-aspirant men over women.

    • So the gender are wanted because certain people want particular kinds of legislation enacted? We’re a republic. The Dail wasnt created so people with a particular ideology can dictate over us. My demographic is poorly represented as it is. I dont need my voice even further watered down as it is already.

      If this this the only reason for gender qouatas then it seems to me it is just an attempt to ban other ideologies other than socialism.

  10. I can understand where the reference in the title to male comes from, I wouldn’t agree that is stale, but how and ever. But pale? What’s that about?

    • Sorry — perhaps trying to be too smart for my own good. It’s a phrase I heard used by Ivana Bacik at a seminar a few months ago. It’s a way of summarizing the problems of poor ‘descriptive representation’ in parliaments, namely that the membership inevitably tends to be unrepresentative in terms of sex (male), age (stale) and ethnicity (pale), among other things. The Dail is a pretty good exemplar. The question of descriptive representation is much debated in the academic literature. Probably the best, most balanced, statement is a paper by Jane Mansbridge, ‘Should Blacks Represent Blacks and Women Represent Women? A Contingent “Yes”,’ Journal of Politics, 61, 1999, pp. 628-57.

      • In fairness then on the ‘pale’ measure FG aren’t doing too badly. Two of their most prominent TDs are from non-traditional ‘ethnic’ backgrounds ; Alan Shatter and Leo Varadkar.

      • So much for politics being a contest of ideas then if we’re going to go down the ‘descriptive representation’ route, dear god haven’t we enough experience of the problems of elections being head counts of various groupings in a society from watching our friends in the north?

        This notion of quota if we were to adopt it is very problematic, why not age quotas, why not quotas based on other physical characteristics? After all the life of a short person is very different to that of a tall person and surely we can’t trust the average sized person to understand the life of either. So we should aim for a parliament of the short and the tall tending towards the extremes of either end. I’m sure the public discourse will improve almost instantly.

  11. Despite the eloquent arguments advanced, I remain convinced that many women (and many men) are discouraged from seeking election as TDs while (a) the executive exercises almost total dominance over parliament, (b) the executive is vulnerable to capture by vested interests, (c) policy is formulated and presented in the form of draft bills, without transparency or scrutiny, by ministers, their special advisers and senior department officials and (d) the resulting bills are whipped through the Oireachtas with limited scrutiny and minimal amendment. If there were thorough-going reform in these areas I would be surprised if many more women weren’t attracted to participate in the political process.

    • Good points Paul.

      The whole party whip system needs to be addressed or disbanded. That what seems to discourage people from politics that they see all the decisions are decided once you elect your “reps”. So instead of scrutinising the government the Dail essentially just rubber stamps the decisions.

      Thats why I like Phil Hogans(FG) idea of having a citizens initiative so ordinary people can lobby the government without being intervened by interest groups like the unions, big business and random ideological groups.

  12. @ Don: I completley agree with you on the fact that women aren’t the only grouping that are grossly underrepresented in the Dáil – we also have a deficit of certain class, ethnic and age groups, amongst others. Women are perhaps the most striking because they make up 50% of the population and of course gender intersects with these other deficits.

    @ David: Agree, Mansbridge’s paper on descriptive representation is balanced and powerful, as is the huge body of theoretical work by Anne Phillips. Sarah Childs has carried out some fascinating empirical research on the descriptive representation of women in the House of Commons.

  13. Who cares what their front bench looks like. More weomen? For what? Just look at the the 3 Marys? When I do I end up saying a few hail Marys. Have I forgot about that the other paragon of FF stroke politics, Maire Geoghan Quinn. The previous minister for justice who had to be brought before a high court judge because he said that, she was running a “parallel system of justice”. If they are good enough they will claw their way to the top! Unfortunately, when they have clawed their way to ministerial positions,it turns out that they are absolutely no different from their male counterparts. Just as useless!

    It is good quality politicians working for the good of the country and not their own clans. I would support candidates of any sex as long as they can do the job. But no way do I want to elect someone just because they are a woman or just because they are gay or just because they are catholic or protestant or black! Get my drift! Sorry if that means I am “sexist” or whatever too bad, I guess I will have to live with it.

    • After reading that I have come up with a rather pragmatic solution to the problem. I’ll write short essay on it and e-mail you when I publish it if you wish.

  14. There are currently only twenty-three women in Dáil Éireann, which accounts for a paltry 13.85 per cent of the seats. Ireland ranks lowly (hovering around 85th position) in a world classification table of women’s representation in parliament compiled by the inter-parliamentary union (see http://www.ipu.org for more details). Women account for 17 per cent of the members of local authorities and just 12 per cent of the members of regional authorities. Only eighty-two women out of a total of 470 candidates contested the General Election in 2007. This is the lowest number of female candidates to contest a general election since 1989.

    Representation is a core concept in the study and practice of politics. It’s about who represents, what is represented, and how it is represented. The normative view is that women’s presence in national legislatures and in political decision-making is “essential to the quality of the democratic process” (Caul Kittilson, 2006: 13). There is growing evidence “that female representatives, although not exclusively, have been found to identify with promoting a more gender-equal society” (Galligan, 2007: 557). The academic literature has also assessed (Thomas and Welch: 1991; Epstein, Niemi and Powell: 2005) “that female politician are more inclined than their male counterparts to advance policy proposals on issues of concern to women”. Others (Burns, Schlozman and Verba: 2001) have demonstrated that “having female candidates and representatives boosts women’s political interest, knowledge and efficacy”.

    Analysis of quota discourse (generally) reveals that resistance to quotas is connected primarily to the belief that quotas are in conflict with the concept of liberal democracy and the principle of merit. Some consider quotas to be a form of discrimination and a violation of the principles of fairness and of competence. However, as Drude Dahlerup (2004) argues (and I agree), if we take the actual exclusion of women as the starting point, that is, if we recognise that many barriers exist that prevent women from entering politics (for example the 5 ‘C’s’ of carer [children and otherwise], cash, confidence, candidate selection and culture), then quotas should not be viewed as discriminating, but instead, as compensation for the many obstacles that women face.

    A recent report by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (Who Cares?: 2009) showed that over the course of a week, women in this country spend on average a fifth of their day engaged in care and household work, three times as much as men do. These facts indicate that there is a persistent cultural bias towards traditional gender roles in Ireland. The expectation placed on many women to maintain the customary role of main home-maker, prevents or delays many women from entering politics. The 2009 CSO Women and Men in Ireland Report indicates that women’s income is around two-thirds of that of men. With not as much cash at their disposal, many women find it difficult to enter politics and fund campaigns. The masculine image of politics expressed by comments such as ‘clubby’, ‘male dominated’, ‘old boys’ network’, is one which many women feel unable to break through. Party candidate selection procedures have long acted as a barrier against the selection of women candidates. Party activists will tend to favour the ‘tried and tested’ male incumbent candidate at selection conventions. As a result, it is often difficult for ‘new’ women candidates to get selected. A paper by Knight and Galligan (Women wanted for politics? Comparing gender and generation from partisan and nationalist perspectives in Ireland north and south) presented at APSA in September 2009 indicates that “women’s absence from the legislature is taken as a given rather than seen as a problem of democratic legitimacy” in the Republic of Ireland. We’re trapped in a cultural mindset where we expect our politicians to be male.

    Introducing quota provisions in politics is considered a legitimate equal opportunity measure in many countries (for more on the European experience of introducing quotas, please see http://www.idea.int/publications/quotas_europe/index.cfm). They act as a process of change and a facilitator of women’s political inclusion. They give women access to power structures and the ability to participate in the agenda-setting process. As it may take decades before all social, cultural and political barriers preventing equal representation of women are eradicated, quotas can act as a ‘kick-start’ in the process of getting more women elected to parliament. We need quotas in this country and the sooner the better. The Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Women’s Participation in Politics has recommended candidate quota legislation be introduced to impose a maximum limit on the proportion of candidates of any one gender selected to run in elections. The committee suggests that such legislation be introduced on a temporary basis only, and would have an inbuilt “sunset clause” to ensure that when targets are met, the law will lapse. Let’s act on these recommendations.

    For more on the second report of the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Women’s Participation in Politics, please see http://dail.ie/documents/committees30thdail/j-justiceedwr/reports_2008/20091105.pdf.

    • Still doesnt change the fact that the introduction of gender quotas will negate us as a free Republic. If social issues are what prevent women form entering politics then its for society to deal with and not the state.

      Discrimination is still discrimination. I have a right to chose my own rep for whatever reason I chose. thats democracy.

  15. And alternative view might be that an electoral system that did not serve to penalise political parties for taking chances on candidates male or female that the electorate might deny to be wrong for them would allow them to be run as many candidates as were interested in offering themselves for consideration.

    The fact is that PR-STV can work as a form of instant primary but parties do not do so as the issues of low transfers between party candidates might ultimately cost them seats. If seat allocation was based on the portion of the national vote received with the constituency being a means to choose which individuals got the seat we might see more people take a chance along with parties being more willing to take that chance with them. The national seat distribution could be topped with those party or even non-party candidates who had the highest vote without being elected at the constituency level.

  16. That comment was a tad rushed and the English mangled –

    An alternative view might be that an electoral system that did not serve to penalise political parties for taking chances on candidates, whether male or female, that the electorate might decide to be wrong for them would allow them to be run as many candidates as were interested in offering themselves for consideration.

    The fact is that PR-STV can work as a form of instant primary but parties do not do so as the issues of the potential of low transfers between party candidates might ultimately cost them seats. If total national seat allocation was based on the portion of the national vote received with the constituency election being a means to choose which specific individuals got the seat we might see more people take a chance along with parties being more willing to take that chance with them. The national seat distribution could be topped with those party or even non-party candidates who had the highest vote without being elected at the constituency level.

    The other issues about the nature of politics, clubbishness and so on, is a bit like suggesting that sport X should change its rules so that more people who are currently unsuited to it could play. Convincing people to vote for you and support a course of action you advocate requires things like building alliances, being somewhat thick skinned about personal comments etc.

    Those negative comments from the NWCI Survey could be easy found by asking male candidates too

    ‘Negative comments from women [like] ‘politics is no place for a woman’ and ‘isn’t your husband great to be allowing you to do this’, to ‘don’t forget to make time for your children and don’t neglect you family’ really annoyed me. At the first council meeting, I was referred to as the ‘new girl’.

    DK – I was in my 30s and even then most members thought of me as a lad barely out of short trousers. Older people in Ireland are incredibly patronising of younger people, it’s not about gender.

    And one elderly man on the doorstep said he would vote for me because ‘you would be handy for cooking them dinner in the council’ – he didn’t intend to be rude, but that was his truth’

    DK – If people are put off by every negative comment and experience on a door step then they’ve no place contesting an election. Ask anyone who has contested an election and they will regale you with horror stories of craziness and abuse they’ve experienced. It will be a minority of people that behaviour like this but out of 100,000 people even 0.1% is a 100 people

    ‘As I was on the ticket with a male, I was mostly ignored at the doors, unless I happened to be on my own – even when male party members were canvassing with me, the public tended to speak to them, not me.’

    DK – It is your job as the candidate to make an impression on the voters, it is not the voter’s job to single you out. Be pushy, assert yourself. Why would someone choose to vote for someone to speak up for them when they don’t even spoke up for themselves? Remember you’ve come to their home, you have to

    ‘Some women commented that as a young woman, I should be happy to be married and have children, not get into politics’

    DK – I recall research from Liam Weeks at UCC on the 2004 local elections that showed that the worst for voting for young women were older women. But it is ironic that if in part the under representation of women in politics is due to the behaviour of women voters that the solution is to reward this behaviour by having a quota for those same women! Believe me a quota system won’t be seeing loads of 20 something women getting elected.

    ‘I stay in it (politics) because I want to continue making a difference in my area and to influence policy within a larger party, but it is frustrating!’

    DK – Politics is incredible frustrating, if you can’t cope with frustration then knocking on thousands of doors isn’t for you. This like people complaining that they’d be Olympic distance champions only that they found the hours and hours of training to be really boring. If you can’t do the work involved in the training then don’t expect to get the medals.

    ‘Women found it encouraging seeing a young female candidate seeking re-election’

    ‘Intimidation and bully tactics are still a very prevalent part of party politics. While existing female councillors are tolerated, obstacles and barriers are put in place to prevent further new female candidates from entering politics’

    DK – Bullying or overbearing behaviour is common in lots of jobs, let’s face you have to have some sort of ego to stand in front of the public and ask that they vote for you not someone else. If you can’t cope with overbearing egos then representative politics isn’t for you.

    ‘[There is a] Paternalistic attitude within the political party. Assumptions made that I am in more need of advice because I am a woman. Mostly among older men. Men in their 20s and 30s treat women equally on the whole’

    DK – anyone who is on the younger side in any organisation will have any number of older people trying to bend their ear to provide them with the benefit of their advice and experience. Even if much of it is useless and repetitive. You will get the same from the voters.

  17. Does anyone know has a sitting TD or Councillor ever been ‘unseated’ at a convention (for any party) and not been able to stand at the following election and the nonsense that goes on at FF conventions doesn’t count as that is done on purpose for attention.

    I mean a genuine, man or woman declaring they are better than the elected rep and can do better and replacing them.

      • Actually, Niamh Cosgrave was deposed at the convention for the 2004 elections but was added to the ticket by HQ and retained her seat after transfers from the eliminated Green party candidate pushed her ahead of Pat Crimmins her running mate. Whether that was down to gender (Donna Cooney was the GP candidate) or incumbency it is hard to be absolutely certain. She later moved to France or confirmed her prior move to France depending on who you talk to and lost the part whip, before standing down from the city council.

        A more accurate example of a sitting Cllr being deposed is current Senator Frances Fitzgerald who was beaten in a 3 horse race for the 2 nominations (I was present for the counting of the votes but am naturally duty bound not to reveal the numbers)in Rathmines by Brian Gillen and Edie Wynne. Wynne lost out in the election to Gillen but he later stood down with cllr Wynne co-opted in his place and she retained the seat last year and is the new deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin.

  18. Pingback: Of gender, jobs and quotas | Daniel Sullivan - he’s a little political

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