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IRISH DÁIL ELECTION 2002

Party nominations for the Dáil election have now closed and we can see that the gains made by women candidates at the last two elections have now stalled. Most parties have fewer women candidates than in 1997 and a similar number to those fielded in 1992. As in past elections Labour and the Progressive Democrats have the highest proportion of women among the main parties (11 out of 46 and 6 out 20, respectively), followed by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil (15 out of 85 and 13 out of 106). Table 1 below gives a gender breakdown of each party's candidates for this election, while Table 2 shows the figures for the previous two elections.

Twenty female incumbent TDs are seeking re-election while only one is retiring at this election, Fine Gael's Monica Barnes. Mrs Barnes is one of seven Fine Gael deputies standing down, and in three of these seven constituencies the party has nominated a woman: Dun Laoghaire (Senator Helen Keogh), Laois-Offaly (Olwyn Enright, daughter of retiring deputy Thomas Enright), and Wexford (MEP Avril Doyle). Fianna Fáil has nominated a woman in only one of its nine newly-vacant seats (Maire Hoctor in Tipperary North). Out of all 42 constituencies there are ten with no women party candidates, and 22 with no women candidates from the two major parties, compared with 17 at the last election.

In addition to the incumbents there are five non-incumbent women running for Fianna Fáil, six for Labour, and ten for Fine Gael. However these include seven women senators and seven former women TDs hoping to return to the Dáil at this election (four from Labour, two from Fine Gael and one Fianna Fáil candidate). Among the independents and small parties currently unrepresented in the Dáil there are 21 women candidates out of 134. Marian Harkin in Sligo-Leitrim and Mildred Fox, seeking a second term in Wicklow, are strong independent contenders.

A table of all women candidates can be seen on this page.

Table 1: Women candidates in 2002 Dáil election

Party

women

men

% women

Fianna Fáil

13

93

12.3

Fine Gael

15

70

17.6

Labour

11

35

23.9

Progressive Democrats

6

14

30...

Sinn Féin

7

30

18.9

Green

9

22

29...

Socialist Party

2

.3

40...

Independents & others

21

113

15.6

TOTAL

.84*

380.

18.1

* Independent Barbara Hyland is contesting two seats, Dun Laoghaire and Wicklow.


Table 2: Women candidates, 1992 and 1997 Dáil elections

mmmmmmmmm1992

1997

Party

women

men

% women

women

men

% women

Fianna Fáil

12.

110..

9.8

14

100

12.3

Fine Gael

13.

78

14.3

15

75

16.6

Labour

8

34

19..

12

32

27.2

Progressive Democrats

9

11

45..

13

17

43.3

Sinn Féin

7

33

17.5

..2

13

13.3

Green

6

.9

40..

..9

17

34.6

TOTAL*

55.

275..

16.6

65

254.

20.3

* Excludes independents and other minor party candidates.

Information on the current election comes from the Irish Times, 6 May 2002. Information on previous elections comes from Nealon's Guide to the 27th Dail and Seanad (1993) and Nealon's Guide to the 28th Dail and Seanad (1998), both edited by Ted Nealon; Howe Ireland Voted 1997, edited by Michael Marsh and Paul Mitchell (1999); and Contesting Politics, by Yvonne Galligan, Eilís Ward and Rick Wilford (1999).
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