Put gender ahead of party loyalty, FG councillor tells voters

Fine Gael candidate says women should back female candidates in other parties where FG fields a male-only ticket

Cllr Anne-Marie Dermody: “It’s not that we’re better than men. We are just looking at the imbalance and trying to draw attention to the imbalance.”

Cllr Anne-Marie Dermody: “It’s not that we’re better than men. We are just looking at the imbalance and trying to draw attention to the imbalance.”

 

The woman behind a Fine Gael campaign to encourage female participation in politics has said voters should back candidates from other parties in constituencies where her party fields a male-only ticket.

Councillor Anne-Marie Dermody, a Fine Gael candidate in Dublin South-West, said her party’s women candidates should encourage their women supporters and friends to participate in a women-only canvass with them in constituencies across the State on Saturday, January 30th.

Asked if women Fine Gael supporters should vote for female candidates from another party in the event of their party fielding only male candidates, she said: “I have to say ‘Yes’ to that. My focus is on getting women engaging, getting women supporting a woman.

“If it’s not a Fine Gael woman, the message is that we need more women representatives. If there isn’t a woman on the ticket, I would still be looking to get more women on the ticket.”

Ms Dermody said no men would be allowed to canvass for Fine Gael on Saturday, January 30th. “You can make the tea,” she joked to a male journalist.

“It’s not that we’re better than men. We are just looking at the imbalance and trying to draw attention to the imbalance.”

Women won 25 of the 166 Dáil seats (15 per cent ), with this increasing to 27 (16%) following the 2014 by-elections.

The launch in Dublin was attended by Fine Gael TDs Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy, Áine Collins, Michelle Mulherin and Gabrielle McFadden. Senators Catherine Noone, Cait Keane and Imelda Henry were also present.

Regarding Ms Dermody’s constituency of Dublin South-West, she said she would be asking voters for their first preference. She would request their second preferences went to running mate Karen Warren, who was added to the ticket, and third to Councillor Colm Brophy.

Contacted by The Irish Times, Mr Brophy said he did not think the over-riding concern for most people, including women, was to cast their votes based on a candidate’s gender.

“They’re much more interested in what a candidate stands for. It would be a stunning thing to ask men just to vote for men. I’m a great believer that men and women make up their own mind as to who they want to vote for regardless of gender,” Mr Brophy said.

“I will be asking people to support myself but I will be leaving it up to them to support party colleagues in whatever order they like, and also our Labour colleagues in Government.”

Fine Gael has no women candidates in Carlow-Kilkenny and Sligo-Leitrim, where John Perry recently won a High Court challenge against the party over a selection convention at which he failed to secure a place on the ticket.

It has no women candidates in Cork East, Cork South Central, Cork South West, Dublin Central, Dublin Fingal, Dublin North West, Galway East, Kildare North, Limerick City, Limerick County, Louth, Meath West and Waterford.

The party is expected to add women to all-male tickets in Clare, Donegal, Wexford and Cork North-Central in order to hit the 30 per cent gender quota target.