'The numbers are stark': Women's Council hits out at new Taoiseach 5 years ago

'The numbers are stark': Women's Council hits out at new Taoiseach

"Jobs for the boys."


While news outlets around the world have lauded Ireland's 'first gay leader', Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has come in for harsh criticism for a lack of female representation in the new Cabinet.

Following his announcement of his junior ministers yesterday, it's emerged that of the 34 Ministers in Government, just seven are women.

"The numbers are stark," said Orla O’Connor, Director of National Women’s Council of Ireland.

“It is disappointing that in this 32nd Dáil which houses the highest number of women TDs ever elected, we are not seeing similar increases in the numbers of women in senior decision-making positions.

“Only 18 women have been appointed to Cabinet since Countess Markievicz became Minister for Labour in 1919. This is one woman less than the current number of Ministers for State.”


Leo Varadkar at his swearing in as Taoiseach last week.


Senator Ivana Bacik, Labour, told the Seanad yesterday that the new Cabinet was "very disappointing."

"Many of us thought that the Taoiseach might use the junior minister appointments today as a means of addressing the imbalance that exists in the Cabinet."

"In the junior Minister appointments, the Taoiseach has missed an opportunity... by not promoting any new women into the ranks of the junior ministers."


The party defended the Taoiseach's choice, saying the line-up was based "on merit".

"Fine Gael are the party of gender quotas. It is the intention to increase the representation. That has been done already in the Dáil," a government spokesperson told the Irish Mirror.

The female Fine Gael TD who lost a cabinet place in the Taoiseach's reshuffle said she found this argument "very offensive."

“From a gender perspective, it’s very hard to see the numbers [of women] declining in terms of the Cabinet,” Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy told the Irish Times.


One Sinn Féin TD added that this was “no Government for Irishwomen."

“The jobs for the boys, crony culture pioneered by their friends in Fianna Fáil is perpetuated by the so-called ‘new politics’ of Fine Gael and Leo Varadkar," said Kathleen Funchion.