Fine Gael female Ministers, TDs, Senators and Councillors have joined forces in advance of International Women’s Day (tomorrow, Wednesday 8th March) to highlight the work they are doing which will positively impact the lives of women and their families nationwide.
Fine Gael has more women elected to the Dáil than any other party. It is a modern progressive party with many hardworking women focused on social progress, finding solutions to problems and working to improve the world around them.
The introduction of gender quotas by Fine Gael in Government was a landmark moment in increasing the participation of women in politics. In addition, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny appointed the highest number of female Ministers than any other Taoiseach before him.
The Tánaiste, and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, highlighted the work in the Department of Justice that is positively impacting on the lives of women.
“New landmark domestic violence legislation is going to improve the protections available to victims most critically for cohabitants and parents in crisis situations, by introducing a new emergency barring order which can last for up to eight working days. This legislation along with the new Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017, will help to protect women in Ireland.
“The Mediation Bill 2017, will put mediation as an option at the centre of the court process, which is much easier and more cost effective than full legal proceedings for family disputes for example. It also makes provision for the involvement of children in the mediation process,” the Tánaiste said.
Government Chief Whip, Regina Doherty, spoke about the array of legislation currently going through the Oireachtas. “Twenty Government Bills have been enacted since this Government formed just over ten months ago. Fine Gael has a range of legislation and policy initiatives that will positively impact on the lives of women and their families. We’ve enacted new legislation to bring down the cost of childcare, we’ve introduced a second free pre-school year and we’ve introduced paternity leave for Dads for the first time ever- all designed to make life easier for working parents,” Deputy Doherty said.
The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, spoke about the involvement of women in the year of commemorations. “Last year, for the first time, the role of women in the revolutionary generation was fully reflected. As we commemorated the events of 1916, we heard the stories of women who played a pivotal role in the Rising. Next year, we will mark the centenary of women’s suffrage, when we will remember the women who fought so hard to ensure we could all have our voices heard. It will also provide us with an opportunity to reflect on women in Irish society over the last century and how we went from a situation in 1919 when Countess Markievicz was the first female minister in a modern democracy, to a situation today where women are still under-represented in Irish politics.”
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Minister Mitchell O’Connor, commented on the ongoing success in the area of job creation. “The number of people at work is now at its highest level since 2008. The monthly unemployment figure has dropped to 6.6%. 66,100 new jobs were announced last year. 70% of those were outside Dublin. We have had an extremely strong start to 2017, with close to 3,500 jobs announced to date. Our target for this year under the Action Plan for Jobs 2017 is 45,000 new jobs. I want two out of every three new jobs created to be in regions around the country,” she said.
Fine Gael is working hard to build a fair and compassionate society with thriving communities across every region. In order to do so we must protect and sustain the economic progress the country has made, so that we can use it to benefit the people who need it most.
Irish women know better than most how that economic progress has been hard won over the last six years, having seen the effects of the recession on their families. We cannot afford to throw it all away on other parties who would risk our recovery. Fine Gael is working day and night to ensure that every single family sees the benefits of an economy that is growing strongly once again.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Issues, policy initiatives and legislation that female Fine Gael representatives are working on :
- Domestic Violence Bill 2017 – Tánaiste & Minister for Justice & Equality, Frances Fitzgerald
- Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 – Tánaiste & Minister for Justice & Equality, Frances Fitzgerald
- Action Plan for Rural Development – Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys
- Action Plan for Jobs – Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor
- Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017 – Minister of State for Communities and National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne
- Development of a new funding and regulation scheme for Homecare – Minister of State for Older People, Helen McEntee
- Public Health Alcohol Bill 2016 – Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy
- Healthy Ireland, the national framework for action to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Ireland – Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy
- Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services – Kate O’Connell TD
- The 8th Amendment of the Constitution (currently being examined by the Citizens’ Assembly)- Kate O’Connell TD
- Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Divorce) Bill 2016 – Josepha Madigan TD
- Proposal to repeal Article 41.2.1 of Bunreacht na hÉireann recognising role of women’s “life within the home” – Josepha Madigan TD
- The National Planning Framework – Maria Bailey TD, Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Planning
- Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment – Hildegarde Naughton TD
- Fine Gael Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs and Deputy Leader in the Seanad – Senator Catherine Noone
- Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson for Regional, Rural, Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs – Senator Maura Hopkins
- Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Education and Skills, Senator Maria Byrne
- Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine – Michelle Mulherin
Fine Gael record on gender equality
- Under a Fine Gael led Government, gender quotas were introduced to Irish politics for the first time- cutting funding to political parties if they failed to run at least 30% women candidates.
- Fine Gael currently has more women elected to the Dáil than any other Party.
- In July 2014, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, appointed the highest number of female Ministers in the history of the State.
- 21% of Fine Gael Councillors are women.
- Half of Fine Gael’s MEPs are women, Mairead McGuinness and Deirdre Clune.
- The President of Young Fine Gael is Marian O’Donnell.
- 40% of the YFG National Executive is female.
- Women play a pivotal role at all levels of the Party.
- At grassroots level, female Fine Gael members are encouraged to attend training, gain new skills and put themselves forward for election.