Women in the Oireachtas: Dáil Éireann (1992 - 2016)


The 1992 general election was dubbed the "Spring Tide" for the huge swell in support for Dick Spring's Labour Party that resulted in them netting 33 seats. This election also saw more female TDs elected than ever before. The Spring Tide did not survive the next general election, but the majority of those TDs did, and the number of female TDs has not dropped below 22 since.

1997 saw a number of firsts for women in Irish politics. Mary Robinson stepped down as President of Ireland and was succeeded by Mary McAleese, the first female head of state to succeed another. Mary Harney, who had become the first female leader of an Irish political party in 1993, became the first female Tánaiste when her Progressive Democrats party went into coalition with Fianna Fáil. Since Harney's time as Tánaiste, two other women have served in the role - Mary Coughlan from 2008 to 2011, and Joan Burton from 2014 to the present. In the same year, Burton became the Labour Party's first female leader.

The huge shift in Irish politics after the 2011 general election saw dozens of new TDs, male and female, elected. Fianna Fáil was left with no female TDs for the first time since 1938. The modern Sinn Féin party had its first female TDs elected in that year as well - Sandra McLellan and Mary Lou McDonald, who is also the deputy leader of her party. Female independent TDs have been a feature of every Dáil since Mildred Fox won the 1995 Wicklow by-election.

Gender quotas came into force for the 2016 election, and although the overall outcome of that election was uncertain, there were more female TDs elected than ever before. Fine Gael returned the largest amount of female TDs, and Frances Fitzgerald became the Tánaiste of a Fine Gael minority government. Independent TD Katherine Zappone was appointed Minister for Children in the same government. More recently, the new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar came under criticism for promoting so few women in his Cabinet reshuffle. Of the 34 Cabinet positions in the government, only seven are occupied by women.

Party Key:
FF - Fianna Fáil 
FG - Fine Gael 
Lab - Labour 
SF - Sinn Féin
PD - Progressive Democrats
DL - Democratic Left 
GP - Green Party
SP - Socialist Party / AAA-PBP
PBP - People Before Profit Alliance (before 2016) 
SD - Social Democrats 
Ind - Independent


Elected:
Theresa Ahearne - Tipperary South (FG)
Niamh Breathnach - Dún Laoghaire (Lab)
Joan Burton - Dublin West (Lab)
Mary Coughlan - Donegal South West (FF)
Síle de Valera - Clare (FF)
Avril Doyle - Wexford (FG)
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn - Galway West (FF)
Eithne FitzGerald - Dublin South (Lab)
Frances Fitzgerald - Dublin South East (FG)
Mary Flaherty - Dublin North West (FG)
Mary Harney - Dublin South West (PD)
Helen Keogh - Dún Laoghaire (PD)
Liz McManus - Wicklow (DL)
Breeda Moynihan-Cronin - Kerry South (Lab)
Liz O'Donnell - Dublin South (PD)
Mary O'Rourke - Westmeath (FF)
Nora Owen - Dublin North (FG)
Máirín Quill - Cork North Central (PD)
Róisín Shortall - Dublin North West (Lab)
Mary Wallace - Meath (FF)
* 1994 by-election:
Kathleen Lynch - Cork North Central (DL)
* 1995 by election:
Mildred Fox - Wicklow (Ind)
* 1996 by-election:
Cecilia Keaveney - Donegal North East (FF) 


Elected:
Theresa Ahearne - Tipperary South (FG)
Monica Barnes - Dún Laoghaire (FG)
Deirdre Clune - Cork South Central (FG)
Mary Coughlan - Donegal South West (FF)
Síle de Valera - Clare (FF)
Frances Fitzgerald - Dublin South East (FG)
Beverly Flynn - Mayo (FF)
Mildred Fox - Wicklow (Ind)
Mary Hanafin - Dún Laoghaire (FF)
Mary Harney - Dublin South West (PD)
Cecilia Keaveney - Donegal North East (FF)
Marian McGennis - Dublin Central (FF)
Liz McManus - Wicklow (DL)
Olivia Mitchell - Dublin South (FG)
Breeda Moynihan-Cronin - Kerry South (Lab)
Liz O'Donnell - Dublin South (PD)
Mary O'Rourke - Westmeath (FF)
Nora Owen - Dublin North (FG)
Róisín Shortall - Dublin North West (Lab)
Mary Wallace - Meath (FF)
* 1998 by-election:
Jan O'Sullivan - Limerick East (Lab)
*1999 by-election:
Mary Upton - Dublin South Central (Lab) 


Elected:
Joan Burton - Dublin West (Lab)
Mary Coughlan - Donegal South West (FF)
Síle de Valera - Clare (FF)
Olwyn Enright - Laois-Offaly (FG)
Mildred Fox - Wicklow (Ind)
Beverly Flynn - Mayo (FF)
Mary Hanafin - Dún Laoghaire (FF)
Marian Harkin - Sligo-Leitrim (Ind)
Mary Harney - Dublin Mid West (PD)
Máire Hoctor - Tipperary North (FF)
Cecilia Keaveney - Donegal North East (FF)
Kathleen Lynch - Cork North Central (Lab) 
Liz McManus - Wicklow (Lab)
Breeda Moynihan-Cronin - Kerry South (Lab)
Olivia Mitchell - Dublin South (FG)
Liz O'Donnell - Dublin South (PD)
Fiona O'Malley - Dún Laoghaire (PD)
Jan O'Sullivan - Limerick East (Lab)
Mae Sexton - Longford-Roscommon (PD)
Róisín Shortall - Dublin North West (Lab)
Mary Upton - Dublin South Central (Lab)
Mary Wallace - Meath (FF)
* 2005 by-election:
Catherine Murphy - Kildare North (Ind) 


Elected:
Áine Brady - Kildare North (FF)
Joan Burton - Dublin West (Lab)
Catherine Byrne - Kildare North (Ind)
Deirdre Clune - Cork South Central (FG)
Margaret Conlon - Cavan-Monaghan (FF)
Mary Coughlan - Donegal South West (FF)
Lucinda Creighton - Dublin South East (FG)
Olwyn Enright - Laois-Offaly (FG)
Beverly Flynn - Mayo (Ind)
Mary Hanafin - Dún Laoghaire (FF) 
Mary Harney - Dublin Mid West (PD)
Máire Hoctor - Tipperary North (FF)
Kathleen Lynch - Cork North Central (Lab)
Liz McManus - Wicklow (Lab)
Olivia Mitchell - Dublin South (FG)
Mary O'Rourke - Longford-Westmeath (FF)
Jan O'Sullivan - Limerick East (Lab)
Róisín Shortall - Dublin North West (Lab)
Joanna Tuffy - Dublin Mid West (Lab)
Mary Upton - Dublin South Central (Lab)
Mary Wallace - Meath East (FF) 
Mary White - Carlow-Kilkenny (GP)
* 2009 by-election:
Maureen O'Sullivan - Dublin Central (Ind) 


 
Elected:
Joan Burton - Dublin West (Lab)
Catherine Byrne - Dublin South Central (FG)
Áine Collins - Cork North West (FG)
Joan Collins - Dublin South Central (PBP)
Ciara Conway - Waterford (Lab)
Marcella Corcoran Kennedy - Laois-Offaly (FG) 
Lucinda Creighton - Dublin South East (FG)
Clare Daly - Dublin North (SP)
Regina Doherty - Meath East (FG)
Anne Ferris - Wicklow (Lab)
Frances Fitzgerald - Dublin Mid West (FG)
Heather Humphries - Cavan-Monaghan (FG)
Kathleen Lynch - Cork North Central (Lab)
Nicky McFadden - Longford-Westmeath (FG)
Mary Lou McDonald - Dublin Central (SF)
Sandra McLellan - Cork East (SF)
Olivia Mitchell - Dublin South (FG)
Mary Mitchell O'Connor - Dún Laoghaire (FG)
Michelle Mulherin - Mayo (FG) 
Catherine Murphy - Kildare North (Ind)
Jan O'Sullivan - Limerick City (Lab)
Maureen O'Sullivan - Dublin Central (Ind)
Ann Phelan - Carlow-Kilkenny (Lab)
Róisín Shortall - Dublin North West (Lab)
Joanna Tuffy - Dublin Mid West (Lab)
* 2013 by-election:
Helen McEntee - Meath East (FG)
* May 2014 by-election:
Ruth Coppinger - Dublin West (SP)
* May 2014 by-election (death of Nicky McFadden)
Gabrielle McFadden - Longford-Westmeath (FG)

Elected:
Maria Bailey - Dún Laoghaire (FG)
Joan Burton - Dublin West (Lab)
Mary Butler - Waterford (FF)
Catherine Byrne - Dublin South Central (FG)
Lisa Chambers - Mayo (FF)
Joan Collins - Dublin South Central (Ind-I4C)
Catherine Connolly - Galway West (Ind-I4C)
Ruth Coppinger - Dublin West (AAA-PBP)
Marcella Corcoran Kennedy - Offaly (FG)
Clare Daly - Dublin Fingal (Ind-I4C)
Regina Doherty - Meath East (FG)
Frances Fitzgerald - Dublin Mid West (FG)
Kathleen Funchion - Carlow-Kilkenny (SF)
Heather Humphries - Cavan-Monaghan (FG)
Josepha Madigan - Dublin Rathdown (FG)
Catherine Martin - Dublin Rathdown (GP)
Mary Lou McDonald - Dublin Central (SF)
Helen McEntee - Meath East (FG)
Denise Mitchell - Dublin Bay North (SF)
Mary Mitchell O'Connor - Dún Laoghaire (FG)
Imelda Munster - Louth (SF)
Catherine Murphy - Kildare North (SD)
Margaret Murphy O'Mahony - Cork South West (FF)
Hildegarde Naughton - Galway West (FG)
Carol Nolan - Offaly (SF)
Kate O'Connor - Dublin Bay South (FG)
Fiona O'Loughlin - Kildare South (FF)
Louise O'Reilly - Dublin Fingal (SF)
Jan O'Sullivan - Limerick City (Lab)
Maureen O'Sullivan - Dublin Central (Ind)
Anne Rabbitte - Galway East (FF)
Róisín Shortall - Dublin Bay North (SD)
Bríd Smith - Dublin South Central (AAA-PBP)
Niamh Smytb - Cavan-Monaghan (FF)
Katherine Zappone - Dublin South West (Ind)