They account for half the overall population but only twelve per cent of seats in the Dáil are held by women.

There were 23 women TDs in the last Dáil. When the 28th Dáil meets later this month, there will be just 20 female deputies accounting for 12 per cent of the total.

In 1992, Eithne FitzGerald topped the poll in Dublin South. In the 1997 general election, she failed to get re-elected.

All together eight women TDs lost their seats.

Four ministers lost their seats including Niamh Breathnach who was Minister for Education.

All male ministers kept their seats in the election and were returned to the Dáil. Nationally, the larger parties who were the big winners in the election, ran a very small percentage of women candidates.

Newcomers Deirdre Clune of Fine Gael and Beverly Cooper Flynn of Fianna Fáil won or held on to seats which were previously occupied by family members.

Frances Gardiner, political scientist at Trinity College Dublin, says that there is no improvement in the number of women elected because no positive strategy has been applied to female candidates. Ireland has a very small number of women candidates in comparison to other European countries. Frances Gardiner does however see Bertie Ahern bringing in a female running mate as a positive sign for change.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 10 June 1997. The reporter is Margaret Ward.

The following women TDs lost their seats in the 1997 general election. Kathleen Lynch (Democratic Left), Máirín Quill (Progressive Democrats), Mary Flaherty (Fine Gael), Eithne FitzGerald (Labour Party), Joan Burton (Labour Party), Niamh Bhreathnach (Labour Party), Helen Keogh (Progressive Democrats), and Avril Doyle (Fine Gael).