Female representation falls from five to two for this term

There will only be two female councillors on Mayo County Council for its new term starting June 2019, which is down from five female councillors who were elected in the 2014 local elections.

However, it is important to note that two of the five who were elected five years ago have since gone on to be elected to higher office, with Lisa Chambers being elected to the Dail and Rose Conway Walsh to the Seanad, while a third, Therese Ruane, retired from the council mid term.

Neither Chambers or Ruane were replaced by females, with Cllr Martin McLoughlin and now former Councillor Joe McHale, replacing them respectively, while Conway-Walsh was replaced by now former Cllr Treasa Whelan.

There were only ten females amongst the 63-strong list of candidates for last Friday's local elections, three of whom were outgoing councillors Treasa Whelan, Treasa McGuire and Annie May Reape - only Reape was returned to the council retaining her seat in Ballina with 1,363 number one votes. Fine Gael newcomer Donna Sheridan will be the second female councillor in the chamber, after she claimed one of three seats for Fine Gael in Castlebar.

In 2014 there were also ten female candidates who polled 9,026 of the 62,455 first preference votes, this time around the ten candidates received 6,866 of the 62,880 valid votes, a reduction of 2,160. In 2014 female candidates won just over 14 per cent of the number one votes and this time around that number had dropped to just under 11 per cent. Ten years ago there were four female candidates elected, Annie May Reape, Michelle Mulherin, Rose Conway Walsh and Margaret Adams.

While overall the vote for female candidates was down, there was growth for some. Green Party candidate Mags Sheehan saw her vote in the Claremorris area increase from 103 five years ago to 263 this time. In 2014 the Green Party ran Caroline Fitzgerald in West Mayo where she got 136 number one votes, this time around Cissy Nayiga ran for the party and brought in 365 number ones. Sinn Fein's Natasha Warde put in a decent showing getting 764 number one votes in the Claremorris area and has plenty to grow on for further elections should she choose to run.


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