Labour Women Bootcamp
Labour Women held its first Labour Women Bootcamp for local election candidates in Portlaoise in early October. The aim of this Bootcamp was to allow all our female local election candidates to share best practice and network with each other while providing candidates with some key campaigning skills in advance of the local elections next May. It was a Bootcamp for women councillors with lots of experience and for those of you with less experience. As by coming together, everyone can learn from each other and let each other know that we are there as a support for each other.
With gender quotas on the horizon, all political parties have now opened their eyes to selecting and running women, but for us in the Labour Party it’s not just about hitting a quota. It’s about running outstanding, accomplished and talented women in areas where they can win a seat and go on to represent their communities and the Labour Party.
The talent, commitment and dedication of the women who attended the Bootcamp was clear to see. They were all articulate, creative and passionate about what they could contribute to local government.
Over the weekend however I heard new candidate Martina Genockey, selected to run in the Tallaght electoral area talk about her history of community activism and Virginia O’ Dowd speak about her contributions to supporting business in her home town of Nenagh Co. Tipperary. All of the women had a story to tell about their own contributions to improving their communities.
Over the weekend we were joined by Labour Party Leader Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore who travelled to Portlaoise to meet with our local election candidates. Eamon spoke of his own personal desire to see more women involved in politics and the commitment that the Labour Party has made to ensuring that we run good candidates in places where they have a real chance of winning a seat. On Sunday morning Deputy Leader Minister Joan Burton regaled the group with lively stories of the campaign trail and shared what she has learned over many successful elections.
Running for elections can be a lonely business and women often face an uphill battle breaking in to the ‘old boys club’ that dominated Irish political life for many decades. This weekend there was a huge sense of solidarity. Over two days connections were made, networks established and wisdom shared. All of these women have an important contribution to make to councils from Cavan to Tralee and we are proud to have such amazing women flying the Labour Party flag.