Fianna Fáil accused of ‘gender-mander’ in Dublin constituencies

Party members in Dublin South Central and Dublin Central told candidates must be women

The decision paves the way for Fianna Fáil’s Mary Fitzpatrick to be selected in Dublin Central. Photograph: The Irish Times

The decision paves the way for Fianna Fáil’s Mary Fitzpatrick to be selected in Dublin Central. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Fianna Fáil has issued a “gender-mander” diktat in two key Dublin constituencies that direct delegates to select a single female candidate.

Members of the party in Dublin South Central and Dublin Central received a letter last night from the national conventions committee stating it had decided that “one candidate be selected at the convention and that candidate be a woman”.

It is the first time any of the major parties has issued an instruction that a single candidate of a particular gender be selected.

Two male candidates, Daithí de Róiste in Dublin South Central and Brian Mohan in Dublin Central, had put their names forward for convention. Last night both said they were bitterly disappointed and effectively said they had been “gender-mandered” by the powerful committee.

The decisions will pave the way for Catherine Ardagh and Mary Fitzpatrick to be selected as the single candidates in both constituencies.

Mr de Róiste told The Irish Times last night that the decision was undemocratic. He said he had won a council seat in Ballyfermot for Fianna Fáil and had received 60 per cent more first preferences than Ms Ardagh.

Bitter taste

“This has left a very bitter taste in my mouth,” he said. “It is antidemocratic. I believe that more women should be involved in politics, but do not favour gender quotas or the rule that 30 per cent of candidates must be women.

“I imagined that the people in this constituency would have the right to choose who their candidate would be.”

Similarly, Mr Mohan said in a Facebook post last night: “The decision by the NCC seems to have been taken without any serious thought into the long-term plan that we as members of Dublin Central have. . . . I lay all the blame with the undemocratic and discriminatory gender quota rule.”