Independent candidates and funding

 

Sir, – The recent announcement by Minister of State for Local Government John Paul Phelan that he will provide a financial incentive to those political parties who increase the number of female candidates in the forthcoming local elections is unfair to Independent female candidates seeking election on May 24th this year, who will not receive any part of this funding.

The most recent figures available from the Standards in Public Office Commission indicate that political parties received almost €6 million in State funding in 2017.

This new initiative would allocate a fund of a further €500,000 to already generously funded party machines.

The announcement has been presented as a “carrot” to encourage parties to increase female participation. However, it will only be paid out after the election is over.

If the Government was sincere in its aim of getting more women elected to public office it would not introduce a scheme where some candidates are more equal than others, namely the women who hold a political party membership card, particularly given the strong swing towards non-aligned Independents recorded in last week’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll. – Yours, etc,

SAMANTHA LONG

Independent candidate,

Dublin 12.