Monday 24 October 2016

Time all those male political dinosaurs out there were made extinct

Sinn Fein Cllr Lisa Marie Sheehy
Sinn Fein Cllr Lisa Marie Sheehy

There is such an ingrained sexism in Irish political life and I have doubts that the proposed gender balanced initiatives can really change this odious culture.

Women politicians in our Seanad and Dail have to run the gauntlet of jibes, jeers and sexist remarks on a daily basis.

Nowhere was this more visibly illustrated that in the Dail a few months ago when the Independent TD Michael Lowry passed a note to our Taoiseach.

The note was advocating a female candidate of a certain position, with a postscript saying: "She's not bad looking either".

What a crass and insulting comment.

Now one of the country's youngest elected female politicians has spoken out about the sexist remarks made to her since her election.

She is Sinn Fein's Lisa Marie Sheehy, who was elected to Limerick Council last May.


She has spoken out publicly about the behaviour of some of her colleagues, calling their sexist comments to her offensive and inappropriate.

Ms Sheehy was particularly incensed at the remarks of a certain male colleague who said that "women are only in politics to make tea".

Lisa said that she was shocked at such a display of male chauvinistic ignorance. On another occasion, she claimed that another male colleague commented on her clothing in a derogatory fashion.

It is a small wonder then that there are so few women in Irish public life when some of our male politicians have such an obnoxious and primitive attitude towards women.

These male dinosaurs that walk up and down our corridors of power make it more difficult to attract intelligent and dedicated young women in to public life in this country.

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