"It was still a sea of suits and ties" - Green Party's Catherine Martin on 32nd Dáil

The newly-elected TD is calling for a cross-party women’s caucus to ensure women’s issues are addressed in the Dáil

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A newly elected Green Party TD says it is "still a sea of suits and ties" in the new Dáil, despite the increased number of women elected. 

The 32nd Dáil - which is due to meet again tomorrow - has the highest number of female TDs yet seen, with 35 women elected. They represent 22% of the total Dáil, compared with only 15% in the previous group.

The increased numbers were achieved amid the controversy over gender quotas.

Catherine Martin, deputy leader and TD for the Green Party, spoke to George on the Right Hook about her call for a cross-party women’s caucus to ensure women’s issues are addressed in the Dáil.

Deputy Martin says after initially being jubilant with the increased numbers of female representatives, "within a few minutes of sitting down in the Dáil chamber, what struck me is there's a lot more to be done there. It was still a sea of suits and ties".

She says that despite the political differences between the female deputies, "[there] are many issues that affect women and haven't been addressed properly in the Dáil because of that lack of proper representation in the Dáil.

"That's where I'd like to see a women's caucus where we work together cross-party. Let's try this out... It works in other countries - Brazil is a fine example," she adds.

Deputy Martin says she has spoken to other TDs, and has found the same issues come up when they call to people's doors.

"You'll find it's childcare, you'll find it's education, you'll find it's mental health... and it will impact on men too. We're talking about more family-friendly hours in the Dáil - the men cannot be forgotten here", she explained.

"We need to make our Dáil more family friendly. What I'm saying is let's facilitate that with a caucus. A properly organised caucus could have real change in our Dáil.

"And it could foster solidarity among women... and empower them, and give them more help... because [the Dáil is] quite a daunting place," she suggested.

You can listen back to the full interview via the podcast below: