CORK South West (CSW) has one of the highest numbers of women seeking election to the 33rd Dáil.
Five of the 12 candidates in CSW are female – representing 41% of candidates. Of the 531 candidates running to fill the 159 seats across 39 constituencies, 162 (31%) of them are women, so CSW bucks the national trend.
Margaret Murphy O’Mahony (FF) is seeking re-election after topping the poll and making history by becoming the first ever female CSW TD in 2016.
FG’s Cllr Karen Coakley has also made history of sorts by becoming the first female CSW candidate selected to stand for her party in a general election. Social Democrat Cllr Holly Cairns is one of 11 (55%) female candidates her party has put forward in 2020.
Cllr Cairns said: ‘The gender balance within the party is one of the reasons I chose the Social Democrats. I believe you can’t seek equality in society if it doesn’t exist within the party.’
The Green Party have selected Bernie Connolly of Glengarriff to stand as their candidate, while Aontú have selected Mairead Ruane.
Cllr Coakley said she is proud of the fact that CSW is above the national average.
‘Women who work inside the home, and outside the home, are adept at multi-tasking,’ she said, ‘and are up-to-date and genuinely concerned about local and national issues.’
The increase in female representation was also evident in the May 2019 local elections.
The election of Fine Gael’s Katie Murphy and Social Democrat Holly Cairns saw them make up 50% of the balance of power in Bantry’s four-seater constituency, where previously there was just one female councillor, Bantry-based Mary Hegarty, for Fine Gael.
Female representation in Bandon-Kinsale rose to 33% when Cllr Gillian Coughlan topped the poll for Fianna Fáil and first-time candidate, Marie O’Sullivan, took a seat for Fine Gael in the six-seater.