Cllr Fiona McLoughin Healy
An Independent Kildare councillor has revealed that she will not run for re-election in the next local elections.
Cllr Fiona McLoughlin-Healy said that while she has 'grown used to the backlash that inevitably follows while highlighting issues', she alleges that since she appeared on RTÉ Investigates earlier this year, her work as a councillor 'has been hampered.'
On the programme, Cllr McLoughlin-Healy discussed her concerns over the the disposal of a strip of council-owned land in Athgarvan.
She explained: "I feel I would be more effective outside the local authority system than within it."
Cllr McLoughlin-Healy further alleged that 'there has been a series of events and behaviours since then, including allegedly inaccurate statements made by fellow councillors on local radio in relation to the disposal, legal threats and threats of complaints to the Standards In Public Office.'
She described these alleged threats made against her as 'staggering.'
Cllr McLoughlin-Healy added: "Local government is broken — and there is insufficient political will to fix it."
'POLITICS NEEDS WOMEN'
She further said that after speaking with her husband, children, supporters and friends, she came to the decision to not seek re-election at the next local elections.
"Although I am certain that I am making the right decision, I have been hesitant to announce my intent to retire from local politics as I worry that my experience may deter other much-needed, independently minded women from putting themselves forward," she explained: "in fact, I have never been more certain that what we need is actually more women, and more diversity in local government."
Cllr McLoughlin-Healy added that she is hopeful that other 'incredible women' will have the opportunity to consider running in the next local elections: "I passionately believe not only that women belong in politics, but that politics needs women.
"For real change, we need to get to the tipping point of 30 per cent representation, at which it is easier for women to change their political environment instead of the political environment changing them."
She concluded her statement by saying that she intends to take time to consider legal advices provided to her 'before deciding any next steps.'
This is not the first time that Cllr McLoughlin-Healy has called out alleged sexism in politics: in March of 2018, she announced that she was resigning from the Fine Gael party, after claiming that fellow party-members subjected her to 'grinding harassment and isolation.'
At the time, she claimed that she received no support from fellow councillors, who also attempted to silence her for drawing attention to certain 'irregularities and/or improper practice' in the local council.
She further said that there was an 'old boys club culture' in Fine Gael.
The full statement by Cllr Fiona McLoughlin-Healy can be read here.
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