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Event honouring Oireachtas women members an important reminder of the vision and hope of 1918

9 December, 2008


Speaking in advance of today’s special Oireachtas lunch honouring the women elected to the Dáil and Seanad since 1918 Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has commended Senator Ivana Bacik on the initiative.

The Dublin MEP said:

“Today’s event organised by Senator Bacik is both a celebration of what women in politics have achieved and also a poignant reminder of the journey left to travel. I want to commend the Senator for organising this initiative which will act as important reminder to the Oireachtas what needs to be done to increase women’s involvement in political life both locally and nationally.

“December 14th 1918 marks the date when women for the first time could vote. That universal suffrage in Ireland coincided with the elections for the first Dáil is perhaps a perfect expression of the vision and hope the people had during that historic time for Ireland’s future.

“The Democratic Programme of the 1st Dáil held in the Mansion House in January 1919 began: ‘We declare in the words of the Irish Republican Proclamation the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be indefeasible, and in the language of our first President. Pádraíg Mac Phiarais, we declare that the Nation's sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation's soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation, and with him we reaffirm that all right to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare. We declare that we desire our country to be ruled in accordance with the principles of Liberty, Equality, and Justice for all, which alone can secure permanence of Government in the willing adhesion of the people.

“This was the vision our political predecessors had for Ireland 90 years ago and many of us within the political institutions throughout the island hold tight that very same vision. An Ireland of Equals can be delivered. But we need the full participation of women at every level of political and public life to be enabled in order to properly achieve the 1919 Democratic Programme principles of Liberty, Equality and Justice for all.” ENDS  

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