8th March 2021 | Equality, Local Government, Press Releases

Green Party calls for greater support for women in politics as Councillor resigns due to family commitments

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Chun léamh i nGaeilge, cliceáil anseo

Clare O’Byrne, Green Party Councillor for South County Dublin Council, will today (March 8th, 2021)give her official resignation following the recent birth of her first child.

Speaking of her experience Clare stated:

“Since I took on the role of Councillor in February 2020, I’ve been committed to bringing about positive change in my locality for the benefit of the environment, the community and our children’s future. It’s been both a rewarding and challenging role, which I have enjoyed immensely. Unfortunately, with the arrival of my firstborn, I have come to realise the impossibility of balancing my role as a new mother with that of a councillor. The unavailability of maternity leave for elected representatives is a serious obstacle that prevents women from running for and remaining in office. Things need to change, not only for my daughter or the next generation of women in politics, but this generation.”

Women in politics face a range of barriers, described by non-profit organisation Women for Election as the 5 Cs – confidence, childcare, cash, candidate selection and culture. They’ve recently added a sixth, ‘cyberspace’, reflecting the worrying increase in harassment and abuse faced by female representatives online.

The Green Party in Government is determined to explore means of addressing these issues through electoral reform, reform of local government and engagement with women’s advocacy organisations. Minister of State for Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, said that an opportunity existed within the recently published Electoral Reform Bill to address issues of women’s participation in politics via the proposed electoral commission.

Minister Noonan stated:

“We can and must do better; we need to engage in a participative process with women in politics to establish what changes are needed in terms of childcare, hours of meetings and moving the role of the elected member more towards strategic bigger-picture policymaking and away from the current clientelist system. It is a loss to politics, to community representation and to local government to lose a councillor of the calibre of Clare O’Byrne. It is happening all too often and will continue unless fundamental changes are brought about.”

Minister Noonan said that the Greens would work with government partners to effect change in how local government is organised and structured.

“It is my hope that when established, the electoral commission will be tasked with a research and advocacy role that would include researching international best practice on the participation of women in politics. Similarly, we anticipate that the commission would engage with civil society and ongoing media campaigns to promote greater participation and encourage change in how local authorities and the Oireachtas conduct their business towards a way that is more family friendly.”

Councillor O’Byrne continued:

“I greatly admire both the women and men within my own party and across the political spectrum who have to balance political and family life while being denied their basic right to maternity or paternity leave. I will continue to support my colleagues in the Green Party as we strive for better and healthier lives for our communities and our children.”

Éilíonn an Comhaontas Glas tuilleadh tacaíochta do mhná sa pholaitíocht tar éis do Chomhairleoir éirí as mar gheall ar ghealltanais teaghlaigh

Éireoidh Clare O’Byrne as go hoifigiúil inniu (8 Márta, 2021) i ndiaidh bhreith a céad linbh le déanaí. Comhairleoir an Chomhaontais Ghlais i gComhairle Contae Bhaile Átha Cliath Theas is ea Clare.

Ag labhairt di faoina taithí inniu, dúirt Clare:

“Ó ghlac mé ról an Chomhairleora chugam i bhFeabhra 2020, bhí mé tiomanta d’athrú dearfach a bhaint amach i mo cheantar féin chun leas an chomhshaoil, an phobail agus thodhchaí ár bpáistí. Ról tairbheach dúshlánach a bhí ann agus bhain mé lánsult as. Ar an drochuair, tar éis dom mo chéad leanbh a thabhairt ar an saol, ba léir dom nach féidir liom cothromaíocht a aimsiú idir mo ról mar mháthair nua agus mo ról mar chomhairleoir. Is bac suntasach ar mhná dul san iomaíocht i dtoghcháin agus fanacht in oifig é nach bhfuil saoire mháithreachais ar fáil d’ionadaithe tofa. Is gá rudaí a athrú, ní hamháin do m’iníon ná don chéad ghlúin eile de mhná sa pholaitíocht, ach don ghlúin seo.”

Bíonn réimsí constaicí roimh mhná sa pholaitíocht. Tugann an eagraíocht neamhbhrabúis Women for Election na ‘5 Cs’ ar na constaicí sin i mBéarla: confidence, childcare, cash, candidate selection agus culture (muinín, cúram leanaí, airgead, roghnú iarrthóirí agus cultúr). Chuir siad an séú constaic leis sin le déanaí, ‘cibearspás’, rud a léiríonn an méadú ar chiapadh agus mí-úsáid a dhéantar ar ionadaithe mná ar líne, ar ábhar imní é.

Tá an Comhaontas Glas sa Rialtas meáite ar scrúdú a dhéanamh ar bhealaí chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar na fadhbanna sin trí athchóiriú toghchánach, athchóiriú rialtais áitiúil agus caidreamh a dhéanamh le heagraíochtaí a dhéanann abhcóideacht ar son na mban. Dúirt an tAire Stáit don Athchóiriú Toghchánacha, Malcolm Noonan TD, go bhfuil deis ann sa Bhille um Athchóiriú Toghchánach a foilsíodh le déanaí aghaidh a thabhairt ar cheisteanna a bhaineann le rannpháirtíocht na mban sa pholaitíocht tríd an gcoimisiún toghcháin beartaithe.

Dúirt an tAire Noonan:

“Is féidir linn níos mó a dhéanamh agus ní mór dúinn é sin a dhéanamh; ní mór dúinn dul i mbun próiseas rannpháirteach le mná sa pholaitíocht le fáil amach cad iad na hathruithe atá ag teastáil ó thaobh cúram leanaí de, cén uair is fearr cruinnithe a eagrú, agus ról an ionadaí tofa a bhogadh i dtreo ceapadh straitéiseach polasaí a phléann leis an bpictiúr mór agus cúl a thabhairt le córas an chliantachais atá ann faoi láthair. Is mór an chailliúint don pholaitíocht, d’ionadaíocht phobail agus do rialtas áitiúil é comhairleoir chomh maith le Clare O’Byrne a chailleadh. Tá sé ag tarlú rómhinic agus tarlóidh sé arís agus arís eile mura ndéantar athruithe bunúsacha.”

Dúirt an tAire Noonan go n-oibreoidh na Glasaigh le comhpháirtithe rialtais chun athrú a bhaint amach maidir le conas a dhéantar rialtas áitiúil a eagrú agus a leagan amach.

“Tá súil agam go leagfar de chúram ar an gcoimisiún toghcháin, tar éis a bhunaithe, ról taighde agus abhcóideachta a ghlacadh agus go mbeidh taighde ar dhea-chleachtas idirnáisiúnta maidir le rannpháirtíocht na mban sa pholaitíocht mar chuid de sin. Ar an mbealach céanna, táimid ag súil leis go mbunóidh an coimisiún caidreamh leis an tsochaí shibhialta agus go nglacfaidh sé páirt i bhfeachtais meán a bheidh ar siúl chun leibhéal níos airde rannpháirtíochta a chur chun cinn agus athrú a spreagadh maidir le conas a dhéanann údaráis áitiúla agus an tOireachtas a gcuid gnó ionas go mbeidh sé níos oiriúnaí do theaghlaigh.”

Lean an Comhairleoir O’Byrne ar aghaidh:

“Tá an-mheas agam ar na mná agus na fir i mo pháirtí féin agus ar an dá thaobh den pholaitíocht nach mór dóibh cothromaíocht a aimsiú idir an saol polaitíochta agus saol an teaghlaigh, fad a shéantar a mbuncheart chun saoire mháithreachais nó atharthachta. Leanfaidh mé orm tacaíocht a thabhairt do mo chomhghleacaithe sa Chomhaontas Glas fad a dhéanaimid dianiarracht saol níos fearr agus níos sláintiúla a chruthú dár bpobail agus dár bpáistí.”