By Dan Walsh
The Women’s Coalition vision is “a county with equal representation at all levels of society, including politics; that Wexford is a place of equal opportunity with a parity of voice reflecting the diversity of its population.” and the official launch of Wexford County Council’s Women’s Coalition takes place on Wednesday 9th March in the Riverside Park Hotel in Enniscorthy.
The coalition is a cross party forum made up of the following six female elected members of Wexford County Council:
Cllr. Maura Bell, Chair of the Coalition. Member of Wexford Borough Council.
Cllr. Barbara-Anne Murphy, Cathaoirleach Wexford County Council and member of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council.
Cllr. Lisa McDonald, Rosslare Municipal District
Cllr. Kathleen Codd Nolan, Enniscorthy Municipal District
Cllr. Mary Farrell, Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District
Cllr Bridin Murphy, Cathaoirleach of New Ross Municipal District
The group was established to support an increase in the number of women in politics, to support each other as female members of the council and to encourage other women who are interested in politics to take the leap and get involved.
There are similar groups in Dáil Éireann and other local authorities, but this is the first time such a group has been formed in Wexford County Council with its inaugural Chair, Cllr Maura Bell. The coalition is an official sub-committee of the County Council and has its own Mission Statement, Strategic Plan and Constitution.
Michelle O’Neill, the acclaimed Wexford-born League of Ireland Referee and global leader on the sports stage as World Cup / Olympic FIFA International Assistant Referee, is the guest speaker and will perform the official launch.
Chair of the Women’s Coalition, Cllr. Maura Bell said; “I am honoured to be elected as the first Chairperson of this dynamic group of female councillors to help encourage as many women as possible to get involved in politics at any level. If women want their experiences represented and to have the power to make decisions about the infrastructure and economic development of their community, then they need to be encouraged and supported to enter politics. Women helping women is what the Women’s Coalition serves to do.”
Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council and member of the Women’s Coalition Cllr. Barbara-Anne Murphy said; “Women are widely involved in leadership roles on school boards, community groups sporting and other organisations, so it is only a small jump to step into official politics. The prospect may be a daunting one for many women, due to the lower levels of representation in Irish politics overall but we are here to show that it is a very worthwhile and rewarding occupation.”