Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Kerry women who have served in the Oireachtas and on Kerry County Council

As the debate about gender quotas and the need for more women in representative politics in Ireland continues, it is worth listing the women who have represented Kerry in the Oireachtas as well as the women who have served on Kerry County Council over the years. It is a shockingly brief list that tells its own story.
Kit Ahern
It is remarkable to think that just four Kerry women have sat in the Dáil since 1919, the longest serving being Fianna Fáil’s Honor Mary Crowley from 1945 to 1966. Interestingly, three of Kerry’s female TDs from the past were elected following the retirement or death of their husband or father.

As stark as the absence of Kerry women from the Dáil and Seanad has been, the dearth of women from Kerry County Council in its 116-year history is shocking. Not a single woman was returned to the Council from the northern half of the county until the late 1960s. Just three women – Mary O’Donoghue (mother of John), Kit Ahern and Toireasa Ferris have chaired the authority since its foundation. Only five of the current 33-member Council are women. 

Female TDs from Kerry

Honor Mary Crowley (FF, Kerry South) 1945 – 1966
Breeda Moynihan Cronin (Lab, Kerry South) 1992 – 2007
Catherine (Kit) Ahern (FF, Kerry North) 1977 – 1981
Kathleen O’Connor (CnaP, Kerry North) 1956 – 1957

Female Senators from Kerry
Mary O'Donoghue
Máirín Quill (PD), a native of Kilgarvan
Marie Moloney (Lab), a member of the current Seanad

Female members of Kerry County Council
Lady Albina Lucy Broderick (SF) 1920 (Killorglin)
Kate Breen (Rep/FF) 1926 (Killarney)
Mary O’Shea (Ind) 1926 (Killorglin)
Honor Mary Crowley (FF) 1945 (Killarney)*
Mary O’Donoghue (FF) 1964 (Killorglin)*
Catherine (Kit) Ahern (FF) 1967 (Listowel)
Maeve Spring (Lab) 1982 (Tralee)*
Breeda Moynihan-Cronin (Lab) 1991 (Killarney)
Anne McEllistrim (FF) 2004 (Tralee)
Norma Foley (FF) 2004 (Tralee)
Toireasa Ferris (SF) 2003 (Tralee)*
Marie Moloney (Lab) 2009 (Killarney)
Gillian Wharton-Slattery (Lab) 2011 (Tralee)*
Dianne Nolan (SF) 2014 (Listowel)
Norma Moriarty (FF) 2014 (South & West)
Aoife Thornton (FG) 2014 (Listowel)

* Denotes co-opted

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