Lack of junior minister roles for women defended

‘Ministerial titles are not a conduit to success personally or politically,’ says Kenny

“We have at the moment the highest number of women representatives around the table in the history of the State. So it’s not about an individual reshuffle here,” Taoiseach Enda Kenny said today, in relation to the reshuffle of junior ministers. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

“We have at the moment the highest number of women representatives around the table in the history of the State. So it’s not about an individual reshuffle here,” Taoiseach Enda Kenny said today, in relation to the reshuffle of junior ministers. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Thu, Jul 17, 2014, 14:04

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has defended his decision not to appoint any women as Ministers of State in the recent reshuffle of junior ministers.

He said a ministerial title was not a path to personal or political success. He had appointed a team “across the country and across the gender divide” to complete the Government’s work.

“The Government are very committed to increasing the number of women representatives in politics. That’s why we introduced a legislation that in the next election there has to be a 30 per cent quota of female candidates - otherwise parties will be fined very heavily,” Mr Kenny said.

“We have at the moment the highest number of women representatives around the table in the history of the State. So it’s not about an individual reshuffle here. The job given to Government, the two parties in Government, both Fine Gael and Labour, is to fix our public finances and get our country working.

“In that sense you need a team across the country and across the gender divide. Of course I would love to appoint more Ministers but that’s not the way things are.”

Mr Kenny was speaking after a National Council of the Forum on End of Life event in Dublin this afternoon.

“We have reduced the numbers of Ministers of State that were appointed down from 20...You have to make choices, but it’s not about individuals because Ministerial titles are not a conduit to success, personally or politically,” he said.

“If that were to be the case a lot of Ministers who were contesting the last general election would be still be elected.”

In a surprise move, Mr Kenny appointed first-time TD Heather Humphreys from Monaghan to Cabinet as Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald retained her new portfolio.

However, he did not nominate any Fine Gael women as Ministers of State this week.

A number of female Fine Gael Oireachtas members spoke up about the issue at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting last night.

Laois-Offaly TD Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy, Dublin South-Central’s Catherine Byrne, Mayo TD Michelle Mulherin and Meath East TD Regina Doherty were among those who addressed the meeting, along with Senator Catherine Noone.