Political Deadlock Over Educational Board Roles

© Pat Flynn

Clare Councillors’ chosen nominees to the Board of a key educational body have been rejected because they fail to meet gender quotas.

Five Councillors are nominated to paid roles with the Limerick and Clare Educational Training Board, but only one woman was selected instead of the legal minimum of two.

As a result, the Board has been unable to meet in recent months and now the the situation is subject of a political deadlock.


It’s a legal requirement that there be a minimum 40% membership from both sexes for Educational and Training Boards.

In Clare’s case, this means two of its five nominees to the Limerick and Clare ETB ought be women, but only one was nominated for at the Council’s AGM in June.

This decision is made by Councillors themselves, in their various groupings, and the Independent-led Technical Group selected Councillor Ann Norton.

But Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael both nominated two men each, namely Councillors PJ Kelly, Joe Killeen, Gabriel Keating and Paul Murphy.

After it was informed of this selection, the ETB wrote to the Council stating that the nominations don’t meet the legal requirement on gender diversity.

The ETB is responsible for several schools and training facilities in Limerick and Clare, but its governing board has not met in recent months as a result, and cannot meet until its resolved.

The ball is effectively in the court of the political parties, who – it’s understood – have held a series of meetings over recent days.

However, the nominations were only made after internal post-election discussions in which carving up Committee roles, Mayorships and more can be fraught and some are now arguing that to change these arrangements is not practical.

Effectively, a stalemate continues.