Just twelve good women elected to new Limerick council

Brigid Teefy celebrates being re-elected to Limerick City and County Council as a poll topper in the Cappamore-Kilmallock district. Photo: Brendan Gleeson.

LIMERICK’s new City and County Council will have just 12 women in the chamber out of a total of 40 representatives elected. This is three more than the nine women who held seats in the outgoing council.

And the National Women’s Council blame lack of quotas in the local elections for the disproportionate representation of women in the local elections nationally.

With just over one quarter of the new council female, Limerick is not bucking any trends, that percentage being the emerging landscape nationally as the final counts continue.

Independent councillor, Brigid Teefy was elected on Saturday night in the Cappamore-Kilmallock area for her sixth consecutive term.

She told the Limerick Post that she believes there are “so many women doing a fantastic  job in local organisations and they would make excellent elected representatives”.

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The experienced councillor is not convinced that quotas are the answer.

“Having women’s names on the ticket for the sake of it is not what’s needed. You need to have women who want to be there and want to be involved”.

“Women who do so much work locally already need to be encouraged to take that next step. There are so many demands on people now, particularly in families where two people have full-time jobs.

“There are so many factors. We need a structure that makes it possible for new people to  consider standing for local election.”

In a statement this (Monday) morning, Rachel Coyle, Head of Campaigns and Mobilisation at the National Women’s Council of Ireland said that “we saw more women running in the local elections than ever before and I congratulate all of the successful women candidates. It is very positive to see women from diverse backgrounds being elected. They will be a critical voice in Local Government.

“However, it is very disappointing that in 2024, we still have not broken the critical mark of at least 40 per cent women’s representation at local level. With the vast majority of results now available, it is clear that women will only make up around 26 % of Councillors which is the same percentage as the percentage of outgoing women Councillors.”

And she called for a quota such as is imposed in National elections to be brought into force for local elections.

“The Local Elections are a critical pipeline for elections at national level.  We know that when women are on the ticket, people vote for women.

“It is very clear that the incentive approach from the Government is not working, as large parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, failed to run at least 40 per cent women as candidates.

“Neither managed to even reach 30 per cent which is incredibly disappointing. As was the case with the general elections, a gender quota for Local Elections is a necessity if we are serious about achieving gender equality in political life for women.”

In addition to the 40 per cent gender quota for local elections, NWC is calling for decisive action towards a more women and family friendly local government.

“This includes investment in local public services, including childcare and public transport, the establishment of local women’s caucuses, greater work life balance policies for Councillors, and the promotion of feminist community development”.

Ms Coyle added that the under representation of minority communities is also deeply disappointing.

“While it was positive to see at least 50 migrant women contesting the election, it is disappointing that there was no Traveller woman candidate and no woman on the ballot in two constituencies, in Moate and An Daingean.”