Every Irish constituency had at least one female candidate - for first time in history
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Every Irish constituency had at least one female candidate - for first time in history

HISTORY - of sorts - was made as every single constituency in Ireland fielded at least one female candidate for the very first time.

Of the 530 candidates who stood in the election, 162 were women, according to Women for Election and the National Women’s Council of Ireland.

It meant that 31% of the candidates campaigning for a seat in the Dail were female, the highest number ever recorded.

This follows on from the election in 2016 where a record 35 women were elected - thanks in part to gender quotas which were introduced for the very first time, where 30% of candidates for a party had to be female, or the party faced financial sanction.

Whether that number will be topped is still unclear as parties begin a series of tense negotiations to form the 33rd Dail.

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Despite the record tally of female candidates, some political commentators believe that it's not enough and have suggested that Irish politics is still suffering from the "same old problems" when it comes to women in government.

In 2016, there may have been a record number of women elected, but well over 80% of the Dail was male, Alison O'Connor of the Irish Examiner pointed out.

"There are still a number of all-male constituencies: Dublin Bay South, Limerick City and County, Meath West, Tipperary and Dublin West.

"In all of the Cork constituencies, Holly Cairns of Social Democrats is the only woman TD, having been elected against the odds, in Cork South West.

"But the constituencies of Cork East, North West, South Central and North Central are male bastions. The Labour Party has no female TD now.

"In 2016 a woman had been elected to Cork South West for the first time with the election of Fianna Fáil’s Margaret Murphy O’Mahony.

"But she lost that seat this time around. So in this case, one female, albeit of a different political persuasion, replaced another. Other female names to lose out, a number of them high profile, include serving and former ministers."

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No matter your opinion on whether this election demonstrates the growing impact of women in Irish politics, or if it highlights a consistent representation problem, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the 2020 general election belongs to one person: A woman. Mary Lou McDonald.