Equip: Women for Election Bootcamp (Part 2)

It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve been a bit tardy in getting more blogs on the brilliant Women For Election Equip Bootcamp up – so I’m delighted that they’ve put up an overview of the three days for you all to read.

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The Mammy

Another of the very memorable speeches at the Equip Camp came from Mary O’Rourke. I didn’t know that the hotel we stayed in, the Hodson Bay, was originally the home of the Lenihan Family, but there you go… You learn something new every day. I couldn’t help but wonder how Mary felt giving all these young – and not so young – women advice on going into politics, in what used to be her childhood home. Even though – as a child of a “coalition family” and a lifelong Labour voter (up to recently) – I would never have voted for either Mary Harney or Mary O’Rourke’s political parties, they both did superb work for women and families while in office. And they continue to support women in politics today – of all parties and none.

One of the most beneficial sessions of the three days came from Women for Election co- founder, Niamh Gallagher, on fundraising.

How bloody hard is it to raise funds – to ask people for money – when you’re not a member of an established party with a political budget? Very. Bloody. Hard. And I have to admit that I’ve been putting it off. Yes, where asking for cash goes, I am the Queen of Procrastination. But the time for putting it on the long finger has gone. I need to get out and about my constituency with leaflets and cards explaining who I am and why I think that people should vote for me (No 1 of course). And that all costs money. So Niamh’s class was much appreciated.Read More »

Equip: Women for Election Bootcamp (Part 1)

When will the election be? Truly? We have no idea. For some odd and very undemocratic reason, the date of the election is “in the Taoiseach’s gift”; meaning, he can call it anytime between now and next May. Best bets are on late February or early March, but who really knows? Enda could wake up next Sunday, read a fairly favourable poll in a newspaper and think, “you know, now is as good a time as any to call an election”. And the race will be on.

Of course, those who are members of the established political parties have an immediate advantage. They have a party system to fall back on, with advisors and volunteers and, most importantly, cash to spend on posters and literature and the odd helicopter with banners!

So in order to learn a little more about what “going for election” entails I signed up for the Women for Election Equip Bootcamp which took place earlier this month in the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone. Okay, I went straight from the Electric Picnic to the hotel on the Sunday. I missed Florence and the Machine playing that night but I was assured it would be worth the sacrifice. It was.Read More »