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22 May 2022

See Her Elected to host online discussion on reality of juggling family life and the work of a county councillor

See Her Elected to host online discussion on reality of juggling family life and the work of a county councillor

Special guests on Family Life & The Council Chamber, an online discussion : Cllr Clare Claffey- Offaly County Council & Cllr Marie Casserly- Sligo County Council

The reality of juggling family life and the work of a county councillor is an area which See Her Elected will put under the spotlight this month as part of an ongoing series of political educational events.  

‘Family Life & the Council Chamber-The Reality of Doing Both’ is an online discussion event which takes place on Tuesday, March 1st at 8pm with special guests Cllr Clare Claffey from Offaly County Council and Cllr Marie Casserly from Sligo County Council. The online event which will take place via Zoom is free of charge and aims to answer many questions which women may wish to explore in the run up to the Local Elections 2024. Register now on Eventbrite with a link on www.seeherelected.ie/events. 

A 37-year-old mother of seven from Banagher, Cllr Clare Claffey was first elected in 2019. She is the only female councillor out of 18 public representatives on Offaly County Council and she has a wealth of information and advice to share with women who are considering running for election in 2024. Clare is a Social Democrats councillor. She first became involved with community volunteering through her work at local and national level with Friends of Breastfeeding and she has co-ordinated the provision of peer-to-peer support services for mothers and has advocated for gender equality in the workplace. Clare entered politics through her involvement with grassroots activism. She has campaigned with the Offaly Together for Yes group during the Repeal movement and ran for the Social Democrats in the Local Elections of 2019 when she was first elected to Offaly County Council. 

Marie Casserly is an Independent councillor on Sligo County Council and one of only three women out of 18 public representatives in the Sligo chamber. Marie was first elected in 2014 and is currently serving her second term as a county councillor.  Marie is Chair of the Sligo Drumcliffe Municipal District 2021-2022. Marie qualified as a secondary school teacher and she job shared as Guidance Counsellor for many years while also juggling the work of a county councillor. A mother of five, Marie’s children ranged in age from 5 to ten when she was first elected to Sligo County Council back in 2014. Currently on a career break from her teaching work, Marie is now working as a Parliamentary Assistant to Independent TD Marian Harkin while also still keeping up with her work as a county councillor. Marie’s children are now in their teenage years and she has a wealth of information to share on the reality of combining family life and the council chamber. 

Programme Manager with See Her Elected, Dr Michelle Maher believes that both councillors have so much valuable information to share in the forthcoming online event. “At See Her Elected we run online workshops and classes through our SHESchool for women who are considering running for election in 2024 or being part of a campaign team. Many women have questioned whether it is possible to combine family life with the work of a county councillor and the reality of that situation. As part of our political education series with See Her Elected we have organised this online event ‘Family Life & the Council Chamber- The Reality of Doing both’ in a bid to answer some pertinent questions and help women prepare for the Local Elections in 2024,” said Dr Maher. 

Currently women hold almost 26%, or 244 council seats, while the remainder, 705 are held by men. The 2019 local elections reveal a notable urban-rural divide in the likelihood of women being selected and elected for the council. Women accounted for 35 per cent of candidates contesting for seats in urban areas but just 23 per cent of candidates in more rural areas, according to research by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI). 

We know that there is a significant and persistent imbalance in Ireland between men and women when it comes to unpaid work and caring such as childcare, care of older adults and those with a disability, and housework with women doing the bulk of this work (Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, 2019). In addition, for many women their caring responsibilities increased during the pandemic (NWCI, 2020). 

If you are considering running for election in 2024 or want to become part of a campaign team for a female candidate then this event could help to shed some light of the reality of combining caring duties and the work of a county councillor and how it is possible to do both. ‘Family Life & the Council Chamber- The Reality of Doing Both’ will take place online on Tuesday, March 1st at 8pm.  

Register now on Eventbrite with a link on www.seeherelected.ie/events or contact  SHESchool on 086 0320455 or email info@seeherelected.ie to register your interest in the event. Registration is free of charge. 

SHE is a feminist, community led rural initiative to support women into political life. The programme is funded by the Department of Housing and Local Government. 

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