"THERE is a real, persistent problem with a very, very ingrained type of misogyny within the Green Party,” a Cork City Councillor has claimed.
Green Party councillor Lorna Bogue was reacting to her party’s finance spokesperson Neasa Hourigan TD being overlooked for the position of minister of state for public expenditure in favour of health spokesperson Ossian Smyth, who Ms Bogue said got the role “because he is a man” and because Ms Hourigan spoke out against the programme for government (PFG).
“In this party, if you express an opinion that people don’t like, or that makes people uncomfortable, or if you’re telling the truth in this party, unfortunately, what happens, if you’re a woman, is that you get punished for it.
“The men can say what they like.
“As soon as a woman says anything in any way controversial, she just gets shut down or punished, or is not given the positions that they have earned through their work,” Councillor Bogue said.
The South-East Ward councillor said she doesn’t believe this scenario is unique to the Green Party, and said there is a “rot” at the heart of all political parties.
“This country does not want women in power. There are men at the top who just don’t want young women, or women in general, to have a voice.”
Ms Bogue was herself temporarily suspended from the Green Party recently after comments she made to The Echo about Eamon Ryan “fudging” on redline issues during the negotiations for the programme for government.
That suspension was handed out in contradiction to the policy and procedures of the party.
She is now engaging with the party in terms of having an independent investigation into the suspension carried out.
Despite the issues, Ms Bogue said she will stay in the party: “It seems as though a lot of people in the party would quite like it if I left. What I have to say to them is I’m not leaving.”
She wants to run in the next general election, but added that the party attacking people from their voters’ demographic will be felt at the ballot box.
“I think some people in the party have really lost touch with reality and have lost touch with the voters, and they will be very very heavily punished by the voters at the end of the day for this.”
A spokesperson for the Green Party said the ratio of male and female representatives is close to 50:50, and that the majority of senior officer roles in the party are held by women.
They add: “Minister of State Smyth is uniquely qualified for the role, having a background in both technology and finance.
“His most recent role was as data analyst at St Vincent’s Hospital, previously he worked as a software engineer with Citigroup and Microsoft, and has run a financial services consultancy firm.”
The spokesperson said that the party strives to give equal weight to female and male voices and “is concerned and saddened to hear allegations of sexism within the organisation”.
“The party takes any such issue extremely seriously, and is committed to addressing any issues which may have lead to someone feeling victimised or marginalised on account of their gender, or for any other reason.
“The party encourages members and representatives to report any specific incidents.”
The spokesperson added: “If we have failed to adhere to our core founding principle of equality in our dealings with any member, we will seek to urgently establish how we can do better in this regard.”