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Celebrating 120 years of local government in Monaghan

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2019

“I love my work. I feel I’m there for the people – on the ground. You don’t get everything for them but you do all you possibly can for people. I really enjoy my work.” (Páidrigín Ui Mhurchadha, former Sinn Fein Town Councillor, Monaghan, 1985-2014)

120 years ago, in April 1899, Ireland had its first elections to county and rural district councils. The enactment of the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898, meant for the first time, women could stand for election and vote.

To mark this historic milestone, the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) today held an event to remember the women active in Local Government and to discuss ways to further improve women’s representation at local level.

Giving the keynote address at the event, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Cavan-Monaghan Fine Gael TD, Heather Humphreys, said:

“It is absolutely vital that more women get involved in Local Government. The fact of the matter is I would not be standing here today as a Government Minister if I had not been afforded the opportunity to serve on Monaghan County Council. The experience I gained from my time in local politics gave me the confidence and the platform to move into national politics and run in the 2011 General Election. If we want to see more women becoming TDs, Ministers and hopefully one day Taoiseach, then that has to start at Local Government level.”

Currently in Monaghan, only 1 out of 18 councillors are women. Seven women are running in the Local elections in 2019 in Monaghan.

Catherine Lane, NWCI’s Women in Local Government Officer said:

“Local government is closest to women’s lives and plays a key role in their lives. Women over the past 120 years have played their part in the communities we live in now. As we approach the Local Elections 2019, we hope to break new ground in female representation at local level. We are calling on all voters to elect feminist candidates who will help to create sustainable communities for women and families to live in.

Also speaking at the event were Bernie Bradley, Monaghan County Council; Lynn McElvaney & Ursula McKenna, Dochas for Women; Lorraine Cunningham, Blayney Blades.

NWCI’s Feminist Manifesto for the Local Elections is available here: https://www.nwci.ie/learn/publication/feminist_manifesto_for_the_local_elections_2019

For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications and Social Media Officer, 085 8619 087