The General Election takes place this Friday, and no clear winner has yet emerged throughout the mud-slinging campaign. We challenged five female candidates on the most important issues facing women in Ireland to help us decide on which way to vote. Their responses may just surprise you, says Sinead Ryan.
With more female candidates than ever standing for election this year, gender quotas, despite their mixed acceptance, are clearly having an impact. Political parties stand to lose hundreds of thousands of euro in funding if they don't meet the 30 per cent requirement of females on each ticket. It has led to dissent among some more traditional politicians, who believe that talent is losing out in favour of political correctness, but we prefer to think of it in terms of the famous line: ?Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels.?
We spoke with five female candidates likely to make an impact in General Election 2016 - Catherine Murphy, Jennifer Cuffe, Lucinda Creighton, Deirdre O'Donovan and Regina Doherty. We asked them about a range of topics, including the environment, jobs, housing, healthcare, childcare, the 8th Amendment, and who they see as the next Taoiseach. Here's what Lucinda Creighton TD had to say.
Lucinda Creighton TD
Renua, Dublin Bay South
Lucinda is a TD, barrister, former Minister for European Affairs and leader of Renua.
?Far too much emphasis is placed on foreign multi-nationals. Capital investment programmes on key projects like water, flood defence, western road connectivity, and a clean tech hub for the Athlone, Tullamore, Mullingar triangle are our priorities. Our 23 per cent flat rate of income tax with a basic income payment for lower income earners, along with our proposals to radically overhaul the capital gains tax regime for productive companies employing people, has the capacity to rapidly accelerate economic growth and inbound investment.?
?There is no need for new research or reports - this sector is drowning in them. We believe that competition between the trusts (eg, bidding for elective procedure contracts) will help to deliver transformation. We need to ensure more patients are moved out of hospitals and onto home care packages or into convalescent facilities faster. The Department of Health and the HSE must have a changed attitude enforced upon them.?
?As a short-term measure, we favour a tax credit for working parents split on an 80/20 basis between service user and provider. Payments to them will be conditional on stable pricing. Our longer-term plan is to build community cr?che facilities across the country.?
?We need to become realistic about our planning. As long as we live in fields and drive into towns rather than the other way around, there will be a tension in regard to service provision, and that includes flood prevention. We support Coillte's aim of getting Ireland to a level of 20 per cent afforestation. An industry can and should be developed around the use of renewable source (biomass) fuels for district and local heating.?
?This is a matter of conscience, and individual members can adopt a position as they see fit. I see this as a human rights issue, and personally am against abortion.?
?Currently, the polls indicate it may be the incumbent but as Harold Macmillan once said when asked what can change the outcome of an election, ?Events dear boy, events.? What matters much more is what you do when you get a seal of office from the President.?
This article was originally published in the February issue of IMAGE Magazine.