Senator Fiona O’Loughlin has called on the Minister for Sport to detail the measures being undertaken by the department to achieve equality in sport.
Senator O’Loughlin, speaking in the Seanad, commented, “Ladies Gaelic Football is the fastest growing sport in Ireland and yet in December, the All-Ireland ladies football semi-final was moved six days before the match, from Limerick to Dublin to facilitate the men’s training.
“What kind of message did that send out to young girls playing Gaelic games all over the country?
“Sadly, most girls’ sports teams are more than used to being treated as second tier citizens.”
Senator O’Loughlin continued: “The National Women’s Council of Ireland has described the low participation of women in sport as a symptom of wider gender inequality throughout Irish society.
“They list low wages for women making gym membership unaffordable, the disproportionate care responsibilities taken on by women as making time for sport impossible and the lack of coverage received by women’s sport as key issues in this.”
The Kildare Senator highlighted two local examples.
“Kildare ladies, who are very successful in their own right, have to pay €11,000 a year to play on playing fields when they are not being used by their male counterparts.
“Meanwhile, Newbridge Ladies hockey team, who support many young girls with training and matches, have no ground whatsoever.
“We must do more to achieve equality in sport and I would like to invite the Minister to come before this House to detail what measures the department will be taking in this regard.”
Senator O’Loughlin finished by paying tribute to Waterford LGFA in being the first LGFA county team to own their own pitch.
“Waterford LGFA are the first women’s county football team in Ireland to fully own their own lands and deserve every congratulations for the herculean fundraising efforts that took place to secure this.”