‘Deeply Problematic’ And ‘Entrenched’ Bias Against Female Politicians In Clare


A leading campaign group focused on increasing female representation in local politics says there’s a ‘deeply problematic’ and ‘entrenched’ bias against women in Clare.

It comes amid calls made to the Oireachtas Committee on Gender Equality for gender quotas to be introduced ahead of the next local elections.



While man walked on the moon in 1969, it would be a further 10 years before a female councillor was elected in Clare.

In 1979, Patricia McCarthy and Madeline Taylor Quinn became the first female local representatives, with the latter going on to become the first female TD for the county in 1981.

In the time since then, only seven more women were directly elected to Clare County Council, with a handful co-opted onto the council.

This compares to the 96 different men who became county councillors in the same period.

See Her Elected, an initiative set up to encourage women in rural areas to become involved in politics, recently addressed the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Gender Equality, calling for gender quotas to be implemented ahead of the next local elections in 2024.

CEO of See Her Elected, Michelle Maher says the underrepresentation of women in politics in Clare is a historic problem.

There are currently four female councillors in the county, the highest in over 30 years.

It was 1991 when the same level of female representation was seen in Clare.

Sinn Féin Councillor in Shannon, Donna McGettigan, believes ‘positive discrimination’ towards women will be needed to address the shortfall in representation at local level.

Listen to the full interview here: