Women's council critical of Cabinet


REACTION:THE NATIONAL Women’s Council of Ireland’s chief executive Susan McKay has criticised what she described as the “marginalisation” of women in the new Cabinet.

She said it was “a disgrace” that the newly appointed Labour Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton was not given a financial portfolio, as had been anticipated.

With the finance brief being split into two parts, many observers expected Ms Burton would become the Minister with responsibility for public expenditure and reform, given her previous role as Labour’s finance spokeswoman. However, the job went to party colleague Brendan Howlin.

“It’s really a disgrace that Joan Burton has not been rewarded for the work she has done in the last Dáil,” Ms McKay said.

She described as “disheartening” the appointment of just two women to Cabinet, Fine Gael Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald and Ms Burton.

“Frances Fitzgerald will do a very good job . . . so should Joan Burton. It is an awful waste that Jan O’Sullivan and Roísín Shortall weren’t given responsibility.”

Ms McKay said the council welcomed Ireland’s first woman Attorney General, Máire Whelan.

She said the presence of strong female role models was particularly important for young women.