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Portmarnock golf club "stuck in the dark ages"

25 July, 2003

Sinn Féin's EU candidate for Dublin, Marylou McDonald, has criticised the sponsors of the Irish Open which is taking place in Portmarnock golf club this week, for supporting a club that is "stuck in the dark ages".

The club has come under fire for being one of only two in the whole of the South which does not allow women members.

Ms. McDonald said:

"This week Portmarnock golf club is hosting the Irish Open. The North Dublin club has been allocated €750,000 of public funds to host the competition. But this club denies membership to women.

"It is an absolute disgrace that one of two golf clubs in Ireland which continues to maintain an elitist and sexist policy of not accepting women as full members, should be the chosen location to host such a prestigious event as the Irish Open.

"What is more disappointing is the attitude of the sponsors to this event. It is strange that any body would want to support a club that is stuck in the dark ages. This government purports to promote gender equality, so it is logical and appropriate that there should be gender proofing of all public spending.

"It is also incredible that Nissan, the main private sponsor of this event would risk a possible consumer backlash in light of the extensive media coverage, which the Portmarnock ban on women members is receiving."

Sorcha Níc Chormaic, a Sinn Féin representative for Terenure/Rathfarnham has said that she is disgusted, as a young woman, that Portmarnock golf club is still operating a policy of exclusion against women.

Ms Níc Chormaic said:

"I am disgusted, speaking as a young woman, how any club can get away with a policy of banning women in the year 2003. If you substitute the words 'coloured, Jewish, or Catholic' for the word women, there would be uproar throughout the country.

"The men who run Portmarnock golf club need to get real. The days of the little women staying at home while the men went off for a few rounds of golf, are long gone, and not before time.

"This government also needs to start looking after my rights, and the rights of all women, and stop allocating public money to clubs that should be shut down for back--dated, sickening attitudes to women."ENDS

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