Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 8 May 2014
Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement
UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security: Discussion
We have been given a great deal of information. I think members will agree that we will reach out to Paula Bradley and her group, and we will work with the delegates on that. We can still pursue the promotion of principles, but we appreciate the realism of the delegates. Ms Fitzmaurice mentioned the funding call for this October, and I am sure members are thinking of the different women's groups in their own areas that are doing great work. I am aware of the Inishowen women's outreach group, which has been involved in supporting women who experience domestic violence in the Inishowen Peninsula. If, following this meeting, we can get the word out and call for groups to submit applications, that would reverse the previous deficit.
I note that the delegates did not take the bait from Deputy Frank Feighan when he said that women are smarter than men. I think it is understandable. While it is good that the Government has set a quota of 30% female candidates, the debate has moved on. The cultural and traditional patterns of child rearing have changed. Men are engaged equally in rearing their children.
The location of one's constituency is an issue. Deputy Martin Ferris is from County Kerry and I am from County Donegal. Young men from those areas must consider whether to enter politics knowing they will not see their family for three days every week, whereas if one represents a constituency in Dublin one will see the children every day. There is an issue around geography that needs to be thrown into the mix. Male politicians have a responsibility to be more proactive in the debate. As things are changing the situation is becoming more complex. It is not all about children, because there are many who do not have families but are willing to work with organisations with a specific focus on the objectives of UNSCR 1325.
We look forward to our continued relationship and to working with the delegation, and if we are here to help if we can.