Over 50 women attend first INSPIRE training programme in Dublin city centre to learn more about running for election.

Images available from Gareth Chaney

Today, Saturday 9th June and the anniversary of Lá na mBán, Women for Election held its first training day of 2018 in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Dublin city centre. Women for Election trains and mentors women to run for politics. The INSPIRE course is a one-day programme that provides an introduction to political life in Ireland. Throughout the day women interested in running for election learned about campaigning, confidence and communications from established and experienced experts as well as elected female politicians.

09/06/2018 (L TO R) Vivien Marasigan from Dublin & Aoibheann Mahon from Drumcondra
During the women for election Dublin INSPIRE conference in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dublin.
Photo: Gareth Chaney

Communications expert Orlaith Carmody delivered sessions on confidence building and communications, while political expert Pat Montague dealt with effective campaigning. Green Party Councillor for Pembroke South-Dock Claire Byrne shared her experience of running in the local elections in 2014 and Fianna Fáil Senator Catherine Ardagh talked about her campaigning experience.

The current statistics of women in Irish politics stands at 22% of deputies in Dáil Éireann, 32% of senators, and 21.4% of local government. “With the 2019 Local Elections on the horizon, now is the time to tell women who are thinking to run to do it,” says Women for Election CEO Ciairín de Buis. “The only area of Irish politics where women and men are essentially equal is in Europe. In fact, Irish women outnumber men in Brussels. We have 6 female MEPs in comparison to 5 men. It’s about time we brought that balance to the rest of Irish society. Women are half the population. The current imbalance doesn’t represent the electorate.”

09/06/2018 Cllr Claire Byrne during the women for election Dublin INSPIRE conference in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dublin.
Photo: Gareth Chaney

This Dublin INSPIRE course sold out a week in advance, sending a clear signal that Ireland has no shortage of women eager to run for politics. “The last few months with #MeToo and the referendum definitely contributed to women putting themselves forward,” says Ciairín de Buis. “After May 25th we saw a swell of interest from women and experienced a booking rush. There are some amazing and driven women keen to get on the ballot. Here’s hoping INSPIRE can help them win their races too.”

There are three more INSPIRE courses planned for the rest of the year including Cork on June 23rd in the Imperial hotel, Galway in October and Dublin again in September. For more information about Women for Election, visit www.womenforelection.ie

Contact Jeanne Sutton for further information, 0838346735 or jeanne@womenforelection.ie

Speaker bios:

Ciairín de Buis
Ciairín is CEO of Women For Election and is leading the organisation in its mission to inspire, support and equip women to succeed in politics. Ciairín was previously CEO of Start Strong from its start-up in 2009 through to its planned closure in 2016. She has also worked with organisations such as IMPACT (now Fórsa) Trade Union, RehabCare, the Citizens Information Service and the National Youth Council of Ireland. She is a board member with Sonas, the largest provider of frontline services to women and children experiencing domestic abuse in the greater Dublin region, and previously served two terms as a member of the Parole Board. She was a member of the National Children’s Advisory Council and the National Advisory Council for Children and Young People. Ciairín has a law degree and Masters in Criminology and more recently completed a Masters in Political Science.

Cllr Claire Byrne, Green Party
Claire was elected to represent Pembroke South-Dock on Dublin City Council in the Local Elections 2014. As Dublin City Council Councillor, she focuses on the environment, waste, housing, planning, arts, culture and transport. Claire is working to ensure that economic, social, political and environmental sustainability are placed at the core of the decision-making process on how our city develops now and in the future. Claire works as head of Environmental and Sustainability Education Specialist with a local company called Real Nation, for The Body&Soul Festival as their Sustainability Manager and occasionally with events collective called Happenings.ie, producing instant pop-up cultural events across the city. She also occasionally guest lectures in sustainable event management in DBS and The Fitzwilliam Institute. Claire has a BSc Honours Degree in Environmental Science, a Post Graduate Diploma in Event Management and Certi cates in Green Business Management, Marketing & Social Media. She has a number of years experience working in environmental and political campaign management, having worked for six years as personal advisor to Eamon Ryan. Claire also has extensive experience in research and policy development in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste management and climate change.

Senator Catherine Ardagh, Fianna Fáil
Catherine Ardagh is a public representative who has the experience and capacity to represent you in Seanad Éireann. Catherine has lived for a number of years in the Inner City and is familiar with the advantages and challenges we all face on a daily basis. She is a young Solicitor with a practice in Crumlin Village. Catherine has been involved in various community groups in the area including The South Inner City Community Development Association and The Walkinstown Business Association. She is currently Fianna Fail Leader of the Seanad and Spokesperson on Social Protection. Catherine wants to see improved home care facilities for the elderly to ensure that our parents and grandparents have the resources and structures to stay in their own home if they wish. Catherine will continue to address the challenges that face us, such as the reduction in income, the property tax this year and the metered water charges next year along with the increased cost of health insurance. Catherine got her passion for politics and public service from her father Sean who was a TD for Crumlin and the Inner City for 15 years. We live in an area that is vibrant and convenient to many facilities. Catherine wants to make our area a great place to live in and bring up a family. She has completed INSPIRE and has a range of electoral experience. She was first elected as a Councillor in 2014. She has served as a Senator since 2016.

Orlaith Carmody
As a well-known communications expert in Ireland and overseas, Orlaith’s role as MD of Gavin Du y and Associates sees her working every day with leaders in the world’s top companies, delivering executive training programmes and preparing leadership teams for frontline communications. As a keynote speaker and trainer she has addressed Ireland’s most influential business people, networks and political groups, and has also presented at conferences in the USA, UAE, Canada and throughout Europe. She is the author of the best selling book, Perform As a Leader, which shares strategies for expert communication in Pitching, Presenting, Negotiating, Coaching, Media performance and more. Following a career as a broadcast journalist with RTÉ, Orlaith became an entrepreneur and is a director of a number of SMEs in media, recruitment and education. She served on the board of RTÉ from 2010 to 2015, HRM Recruit from 2010 to 2015 and is currently the Chairperson of HCCI. She is a founder member of the Irish Chapter of EO, the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation, and was President 2014/15. Orlaith is a Member of the Institute of Directors, a Fellow of the Irish Institute of Training and Development, and is a Certified Management Consultant.

Pat Montague
Pat Montague, a former Labour Party Youth Officer, is Managing Director of Montague Communications, which he founded in 1992. Montague Communications is an award-winning campaigning communications consultancy working almost exclusively with not-for-pro t organisations, including trade unions, public sector agencies and the non-governmental organisations. The company’s primary concern is with raising the public pro le and giving voice to organisations and groups working for progressive social, economic and political change in our society. Pat has a first-class honours MA in Political Communication and he also lectures part-time on this course in DCU. While completing his Masters, he carried out extensive research on lobbying around the Budget process – including interviews with former Ministers, advisors, senior civil servants and lobbying organisations. Pat’s work in this and other areas has been published in the academic press and the general media. He is a regular contributor at academic and professional conferences, as well as in the media. Pat Montague is a member of the board of Integrating Ireland and is PRO of Na Fianna GAA Club, Dublin.

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