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Mary Lou McDonald calls for nomination of woman as new EU Commission President

24 June, 2004

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has called upon the Taoiseach to propose a female candidate for nomination as the new EU Commission President, following a transparent application process.

With discussions on-going over who will become the new EU Commission President, Ms McDonald stated that the time was right to propose a woman EU Commission President to redress the gender imbalance within the political process.

Speaking today, Ms McDonald said:

"We are still a long way from the EU of Equals that Sinn Fein wants to build. Currently, 23 out of the 30 EU Commissioners are men and only 7 are women. That is a disgrace, and it must change.

"All of the discussions around the nomination of an EU Commission President have focussed upon male candidates for the position. There are plenty of talented, and indeed qualified women within Irish politics who would fit that criterion for Commission President.

"The Irish Government has the opportunity and indeed the responsibility to propose a credible female candidate for nomination as Commission President to redress the present under-representation of women in decision-making at EU level, and I urge them not to waste it.

"In January 2004, an Irish delegation to the Council of Europe had their voting rights suspended because the delegation had no female representatives. This is deeply embarrassing in this day and age that the Council had to suspend Irish voting rights because of the inherent under-representation of women. It further reinforces the need for gender equality within the political process." ENDS

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