I was intrigued but hardly surprised that the issue of Gender equality has arose on International Women's Day. Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has accepted that more needs to be done to improve gender equality in politics and many other professions.
I also share Bertie's assessment that more needs to be done.That said however "positive" discrimination is not and can not be the answer to this problem.
Many of my readers will be aware that I oppose "Positive Discrimination" in all its ugly forms. I do not support the 50/50 policing requirement. Positive discrimination in relation to gender cheapens the role of women. When it comes to politics and the issue of selection it must always, always be on the basis of the best candidate first and foremost.
In South Armagh all of our councillors are male; I am not suggesting for one minute that we do not have female representatives in South Armagh that would make excellent councillors, far from it. I do believe however that when selecting someone, be it for politics or any other profession it must always be on the basis of the best candidate for the job.
In a situation where female and male candidates are up for selection and both are equally talented then the man must stand aside in the interests of gender equality.
Gender equality however must always play second fiddle to quality!