Thursday 4 March 2021

In advance of International Women’s Day on the 8th March, Peter Burke T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage today launched “Women doing politics differently – development of Local or regional caucus for women councillors – identifying interest and examining possible supports”, a research piece undertaken by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI).

Speaking at the launch, Minister Burke welcomed the research which, he said,

addresses the issue of supporting women that have been successful in their campaign to be elected and have made that ambitious step into local government.

caucuses for women councillors will benefit local government business allowing for the sharing of experiences, knowledge and achievements, while supporting women councillors and promoting a sense of collegiality among groups locally.’  To assist with the establishment of such caucuses, the National Women’s Council have also produced guidelines to assist and support both the elected members and local authorities in their endeavours.

Minister of State, Anne Rabbitte, welcomed the announcement – any woman who dips their toes into politics, be it local or at national level, needs support, nurturing and a forum to share knowledge and experience.

To further assist the establishment of these caucuses across the country, the Minister announced that he has approved the provision of funding to assist with the establishment of such caucuses.  Such funding could be used to assist with the start-up of caucuses in areas, such as engaging independent facilitators, administration support and running costs.

The Minister thanked the National Women’s Council of Ireland for this important work, stating that the organisation has been a valued partner to his Department in examining barriers to female participation in local government, and encouraging measures aimed at getting more women involved in local level politics.

The Minister concluded,

The goal of increasing female participation in local government, and also the retention of highly skilled councillors is something I am committed to doing in the build up to the 2024 Local Elections. I believe that the work needs to be done now and research pieces such as this help provide us with a roadmap to creating a better environment for female councillors.