Belfast Telegraph

Women’s role in political life brought to the fore in cross-border event

The event looked at the importance of women’s role in communities, as well as in public and political life.

Sinead Dooley, Deputy CEO Irish Rural Link, Fiona O’Loughlin,TD, Catherine Martin TD, Chair Of The Womens Parliamentary Caucus and Kellie Armstrong MLA, Deputy Chairperson Northern Ireland Assembly Women’s Caucus (Press Eye/Declan Roughan/PA)
Sinead Dooley, Deputy CEO Irish Rural Link, Fiona O’Loughlin,TD, Catherine Martin TD, Chair Of The Womens Parliamentary Caucus and Kellie Armstrong MLA, Deputy Chairperson Northern Ireland Assembly Women’s Caucus (Press Eye/Declan Roughan/PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

More than 70 women from Northern Ireland and the Republic visited the Irish parliament as part of a project aimed at building cross-border and cross-community relationships.

Participants in The Next Chapter visited the Dail to meet with members of the Irish Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and discuss their experiences and ideas.

The event looked at the importance of women’s role in communities, as well as in public and political life.

The Next Chapter project aims to build positive relations between women from different communities and backgrounds in Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland.

It was hosted by Green Party TD Catherine Martin, who is chair of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus.

Sinead Dooley, deputy CEO of Irish Rural Link, said “This visit to Dail Eireann is part of a series of events that the participants have undertaken as part of the Next Chapter.

“It is important that the women on the Next Chapter project are able to meet with a wide range of females in senior positions in public and political life, and meeting with a range of Deputies from the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus today has highlighted the work so many have undertaken to ensure that the voice of women is heard at the highest political level.”

Ms Martin said: “Women have an incredibly important role to play in the Dail and right throughout public life.

“The women who make up our caucus come from many different walks of life and have a range of political views, but what we agree on is the need to ensure that more women come forward into public life, be it in their local community or here as parliamentarians.

“We are delighted that the Next Chapter participants have been able to join us here today, as we build a wider consensus of women in leadership roles right across the island.”

Christine Darrah, executive director of Politics Plus – the lead partner on the Next Chapter project, added “The goal of the Next Chapter is to help empower the women from Northern Ireland and the border counties to become more involved in community and public life, and it is clear that many have been inspired by the deputies we have met today in Dail Eireann.

“So many of these TDs started out as grassroots activists, working on local issues and now they are parliamentary representatives, committee chairs, and Ministers in Government.

“The work undertaken by Next Chapter participants will help shape politics in the future, with the voice of women firmly at the centre of power.”

The Next Chapter has more than 300 participants in 10 Chapters across Northern Ireland and the border counties, and provides a network and training for women to develop ideas, build communities and support the transition out of conflict.

PA

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