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FORMER WOMEN MEMBERS OF SEANAD ÉIREANN

The first table on this page lists the women who belonged to the Senate of the Irish Free State, and the second table (accurate as at August 2008) lists all former women members of the Senate created by the 1937 constitution. The 1922 constitution provided for an upper house of sixty members, half nominated by the Taoiseach and half elected by TDs for twelve year terms (nine years from 1928). Vacancies were to be filled by popular election, but after one disordered election in 1925 (at which no women were elected) they were discontinued in 1928 and replaced with selection by both houses of the Oireachtas. The Seanad was abolished in 1936 but revived by the new constitution of the following year with reduced powers.

Like the first Seanad this body has sixty members, though its life-span is connected to that of the Dáil. Eleven senators are nominated by the Taoiseach, six are elected by the National University of Ireland and University of Dublin, and forty-three are elected to one of five vocational panels representing Agriculture, Culture and Education, Industry, Labour, and Public Administration. Table 2b gives a gender breakdown of the Senate for each election from 1938. Current senators are listed here. If you would like to print this page click here for a Word document containing these tables.

Table 1: Former women senators, 1922 to 1936

Name

Party

Elected or nominated by

Dates

Eileen Costello

Fine Gael

Dáil

1922-36

Countess of Desart

Unionist

Taoiseach

1922-33

Alice Stopford Green

Independent

Dáil

1922-29

Jennie Wyse Power

Sinn Féin, Cumann na nGaedheal (1933-)

Taoiseach

1922-36

Kathleen Clarke

Sinn Féin

Dáil

1928-36

Kathleen Browne

Cumann na nGaedheal,
Army comrades (1933-)

Dáil

1929-36



Table 2a: Former women senators, 1938 to 2007

Name

Party

Panel

Dates

Helena Concannon

Fianna Fáil

National University of Ireland

1938-52

Linda Kearns-MacWhinney

Fianna Fáil

Industrial & Commercial

1938

Margaret Kennedy

Fianna Fáil

Taoiseach’s nominee

1938-48

Margaret Mary Pearse

Fianna Fáil

Administrative

1938-68

Eleanor Butler

Labour

Taoiseach’s nominee

1948-51

Mary Davidson

Labour

Industrial & Commercial

1950-51
1954-69

Jane Dowdall

Fianna Fáil

Industrial & Commercial

1951-61

Nora Connolly-O’Brien

Fianna Fáil

Taoiseach’s nominee

1957-69

Catherine ‘Kit’ Ahern

Fianna Fáil

Taoiseach’s nominee,
Cultural & Educational (1969-)

1964-77

Eileen Desmond

Labour

Industrial & Commercial

1969-73

Evelyn Owens

Labour

Labour

1969-77

Mary Robinson
(Bourke to 1970)

Independent, Labour (1976-85)

University of Dublin

1969-89

Peggy Farrell

Fianna Fáil

Taoiseach’s nominee

1969-73

Mary Walsh

Fine Gael

Cultural & Educational

1973-76

Eileen Cassidy

Fianna Fáil

Taoiseach’s nominee

1977-81

Valerie Goulding

Fianna Fáil

Taoiseach’s nominee

1977-81

Mary Harney

Fianna Fáil

Taoiseach’s nominee

1977-81

Tras Honan

Fianna Fáil

Administrative

1977-93

Gemma Hussey

Independent, Fine Gael (1980-)

National University of Ireland

1977-82

Catherine McGuinness

Independent

University of Dublin

1979-82
1983-87

Deirdre Bolger

Fine Gael

Industrial & Commercial

1981

Katharine Bulbulia

Fine Gael, Prog. Dem.

Administrative

1981-89

Miriam Kearney

Fine Gael

Taoiseach’s nominee

1981-82

Patsy Lawlor

Fine Gael

Cultural & Educational

1981-82

Camilla Hannon

Fianna Fáil

Taoiseach’s nominee

1982

Monica Barnes

Fine Gael

Labour

1982

Madeleine Taylor-Quinn

Fine Gael

Cultural & Educational

1982,
1993-2002

Helena McAuliffe-Ennis

Labour, Progressive Democrat (1985-)

Cultural & Educational

1983-87

Bríd Rodgers

Independent

Taoiseach’s nominee

1983-87

Nuala Fennell

Fine Gael

Taoiseach’s nominee, Labour (1987-)

1987-89

Olga Bennett

Fianna Fáil

Taoiseach’s nominee

1989-93

Carmencita Hederman

Independent

University of Dublin

1989-93

Mary Jackman

Fine Gael

Labour

1989-93, 1997-2002

Avril Doyle

FIne Gael

Agricultural

1989-92,
1997-2002

Ann Gallagher

Labour

Industrial & Commercial

1993-97

Cathy Honan

Progressive Democrat

Industrial & Commercial

1993-97

Mary Kelly

Labour

Cultural & Educational

1993-97

Jan O’Sullivan

Labour

Administrative

1993-97

Niamh Bhreathnach

Labour

Taoiseach’s nominee

1997

Niamh Cosgrave

Fine Gael

Taoiseach’s nominee

1997

Therese Ridge

Fine Gael

Labour

1997-2002

Helen Keogh

Prog. Dems., Fine Gael (2000-)

Taoiseach's nominee

1997-2002

Ann Leonard

Fianna Fáil

Taoiseach's nominee

1997-2002

Máirín Quill

Progressive Democrat

Taoiseach's nominee

1997-2002

Joanne Tuffy

Labour

Administrative

2002 - 2007

Kathleen O'Meara

Labour

Agricultural

1997-2007

Margaret Cox

Fianna Fáil

Industrial & Commercial

1997-2007

Sheila Terry

Fine Gael

Industrial & Commercial

2002 - 2007

Mary Henry

Non-party

Dublin University (Trinity College)

1993-2007

Mary O'Rourke

Fianna Fáil

Taoiseach's nominee

2002 - 2007

Kate Walsh

Progressive Democrat

Taoiseach's nominee

2002 - 2007



Table 2b: Senate compsition by gender, 1938 to 2007

Date

Women

Men

% Women

April 1938

4

56

7

Aug. 1938

3

57

5

1943

3

57

5

1944

3

57

5

1948

3

57

5

1951

3

57

5

1954

3

57

5

1957

4

56

7

1961

4

56

7

1965

4

56

7

1969

5

55

8

1973

4

56

7

1977

6

54

10..

1981

9

51

15..

April 1982

8

52

13..

Jan. 1983

7

53

12..

1987

5

55

8

1989

6

54

10..

1993

8

52

13..

1997

11

49

18..

2002

10

50

17.

2007

12

48

20

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