Course for women running for election opens

Funding comes from US state department

Terry Prone: one of the experts who will address the group

A US state department funded three-day course for women who want to run for election has started in Athlone, Co Westmeath.

Helping women
The course is aimed at helping women run for election in next year's local and European elections by coaching them on election strategy, fundraising and working with the media, said Michelle O'Donnell Keating, one of the organisers of the Women for Election group.

Twenty women from all the main political parties and some Independents are attending the course, she added.

Terry Prone, public relations consultant, Frank Flannery, former Fine Gael director of elections and Rachel Nolan, Australian politician are among the experts who will address the group.

Non-profit group
Women for Election, a non-profit group which aims to get more women into Irish politics, won the US funding to set up the course after 55 winners were selected out of 650 contenders for grants among those who attended US government-funded training programmes.

Those attending also pay €1,250 for the course and for food and lodging over the three days.Both Ms O'Donnell Keating and Niamh Gallagher, co-organiser of the course, attended the women's campaign school at Yale University.


Ms O’Donnell Keating said she hoped to run the course annually to help women interested in politics run for election.

"There is a need for it and we hope to demystify the political process," she said.

Supporting women
"For us it's about supporting women in the country who want to stand in elections and helping them get onto the next step," she added.