In defence of ‘Madam Politician’


Sir, – In reviewing Martina Fitzgerald’s book Madam Politician, Geraldine Kennedy questions why the full house of surviving women Ministers “. . . knowingly acquiesced to individual interviews. . .” (Books, October 27th). Ms Fitzgerald was the first and only political correspondent who sought an interview with me since I left office in 1997.

She sought the views from those of us who made it to the Cabinet room in difficult times in the male dominated environment of Dáil Éireann. In today’s political climate where gender quotas exist to encourage more women enter the political field, this book, in describing the changing environment for women in the Houses of the Oireachtas, is to be welcomed.

While of course an academic review of my reforming agenda as minister for education would have much to recommend it, Ms Fitzgerald’s book was never intended to assess the ministerial record of each participant. Instead it was intended to capture the changing environment for elected women and for those who won high office in a traditionally male and stale Irish Parliament. – Yours, etc,


Blackrock, Co Dublin.