Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Mary Robinson congratulates John Hume on being voted the 'greatest'

Former Irish president Mary Robinson

Former President Mary Robinson last night congratulated John Hume on pipping her to the post to be named Ireland's Greatest Person.

Mrs Robinson, who came third in the RTE vote, said it was fitting the Derry politician, who played an instrumental role in the Northern Ireland peace process, "got the recognition he so richly deserves".

She added: "It's a very good way for the Irish people to recognise the huge contribution he has made."

Mrs Robinson was speaking at the office of Ireland's UN Mission in New York last night, where she helped launch a new report into women's participation in politics, which was co-authored by Ireland.

The UN report made a series of recommendations on improving women's participation in formal politics. These included more family friendly working arrangements for politicians, the engagement of men in support of women candidates and political structures like a women's caucus in parliament.

One of its key findings was that gender quotas in politics do work, and should not be dismissed as token gestures.

Mrs Robinson said she believed it was "appropriate" for the issue to be re-examined in Ireland. "The countries around the world that have been willing to have quotas have made much more rapid progress," she said.

"It is up to every country, and some, Ireland among them, feel we don't need quotas. But maybe they should think: how is it that we still have a very small percentage of women?"

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