Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Government violates promise on gender representation

8 March, 2004

Sinn Féin TDs Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Martin Ferris have accused the Government of violating its Programme for Government promise to ensure that a minimum of 40% state Board nominations are women because it has refused to include these targets in its own legislation creating new statutory agencies. The Sinn Féin Deputies have called on the Government to make a fresh commitment on International Women's Day to include this target in legislation for all newly-created bodies.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said: "Knowing the evidence that affirmative action targets work, and in view of the specific commitment made in the Programme for Government, it is nothing short of outrageous that last week the Government refused a Sinn Féin amendment that would have required the Minister for Justice to ensure equal gender representation on the newly created Private Security Services Authority. Sinn Féin should never have had to table this amendment at all. The Minister should have kept his promise and included the provision in the Bill. For our part, Sinn Féin have set similar targets in our own party as we are convinced by results from the Nordic countries that target-setting is an effective tool for increasing gender representation. We are fully committed to getting our own house in order."

Deputy Ferris meanwhile announced his plans to table a similar amendment to the Bord Bia Bill which also fails to legislate for equal representation. Deputy Ferris said: "I cannot understand why there is no provision for affirmative action targets in this Bill. Clearly Ministerial discretion has not been sufficient, as only 17% of appointments made by the Minister for Agriculture have been women, and the Government have fallen short of the 40% target ever since they first agreed to it in 1991. While Sinn Féin should not have to table these kind of amendments, we will do so whenever necessary as part of our commitment to building an Ireland of Equals. Equal representation will not happen overnight, nor because Government Ministers mouth platitudes. It will only happen when those with power agree to share it. No one is absolved. We each have a responsibility to ensure that affirmative action targets are set and met." ENDS

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