Adrian Kavanagh, 16th January 2015
Following yesterday’s post on the situation with Fianna Fail, this post will consider the case of Fine Gael in relation to the candidate selection decisions that party needs to make in order to meet the requirements set by the gender quota legislation, which demands that at least 30% of all the candidates running for political parties at the next general election should be female candidates (and at least 30% should be male candidates!). Given that party’s success at the 2011 General Election and the large number of (mainly male) Fine Gael candidates elected at that contest, the target number of female candidates for this party needs to somewhat higher than the levels set for Fianna Fail in the Markievicz Commission Report. Based on my earlier analysis, the smallest number of female candidates that Fine Gael could run at the next general election in order to meet the requirements of the gender quota legislation probably falls within a range of between 25 and 32 female candidates. The final number is probably likely to fall somewhere towards the upper end of this range.
Given the large number of male Fine Gael incumbents, the gender quota legislation poses greater challenges for them than for any other party in the state. Against that, the party has the largest number of female representatives – at the European, national and local levels – in the Republic of Ireland. Fine Gael currently have two female MEPs (Deirdre Clune and Mairead McGuinness), 11 female TDs (highlighted in the list below by a *), 3 female Senators (highlighted in the list below by a ^) and 50 female City and County Councillors, amounting to 66 elected female representatives in all. Given that, the pool of potential Fine Gael female candidates is very strong, suggesting the party will have no difficulties in finding enough female candidates to achieve a target of selecting c.30 female candidates to contest the next general election. As the list below shows, Fine Gael have at least one potential candidate in each one of the 40 constituencies and indeed have a number of potential candidates in some of these constituencies. Ironically, given that female candidates generally tend to fare stronger in urban areas and particularly in Dublin, the only constituencies that the party does not, at present, appear to have potential female candidates are Dublin North-West and Dublin Central. Continue reading