Court hears State should play no role in deciding who goes forward for election

Fianna Fáil's Brian Mohan is challenging gender quotas

Counsel for a member of Fianna Fáil who is challenging gender quotas claims the State should play no role in deciding who goes forward for election.

Brian Mohan claims his chances of being selected as a candidate were dashed because of a party directive to comply with the quota.

Just 25 of the 166 TDs elected in 2011 were women, and the gender quota was introduced the following year to try and redress the balance - with parties now facing cuts in State funding if they do not ensure that 30% of their candidates for the upcoming election are female.

Mr Mohan was one of three people nominated for Fianna Fáil's selection convention in Dublin Central, but Mary Fitzpatrick was chosen unopposed after the party directed that members should only put one woman forward.

He claims the party was struggling to find female candidates at the time, with only 10 women among the 47 already selected.

In opening his legal challenge today, his counsel said the directive meant he was effectively disregarded from pursuing his political ambitions - and argues the Oireachtas is acting outside its powers by using State funds to try and encourage potential outcomes to the election.

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