A Rathdowney woman is hoping to overturn a 35-year hiatus since the National University of Ireland (NUI) elected a woman to the Seanad.
After ten years as Chief Executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) Ellen O'Malley Dunlop hopes to attempt to right this unequal representation by running for one of the three NUI seats in the upcoming Seanad elections.
Ellen O’Malley Dunlop grew up in Rathdowney, and has lived in Dublin for nearly 30 years.
Her Rathdowney and Laois connections are well honed and need no introduction.
O’Malley’s Corner House Pub in Rathdowney has been in the family since 1911 and was run, up to recently, by her brother John.
Ellen is also a member of the Laois Association in Dublin.
For her Seanad bid, she is asking for registered NUI graduates to give her their number 1 vote.
If elected, she says she is committed to implementing the necessary reforms for a more representative and effective Seanad.
After ten years, as CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre she says she has demonstrated her ability to influence positive change on the complex issues surrounding sexual and gender-based violence and the rights of victims of crime.
“I had the privilege of working with an amazingly dedicated staff and trained volunteers of 100 women in the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, who worked tirelessly in their responses to preventing and healing the trauma of rape and childhood sexual abuse in Irish society.
“Throughout my career I have a strong record in leading and effecting change and I want to bring my experience to representing the graduates of NUI to Seanad Éireann.
“I have lobbied for reform in legislation for victims rights and children’s rights and was appointed Adjunct Professor to the School of Law in UL in December 2015.
“Prior to my time in the DRCC, I worked as a psychotherapist, and was a founding member of the MSc in Psychotherapy in Trinity College.
“In my early career, having trained as a primary school teacher in Mary Immaculate in Limerick, I worked with children with special needs.”
Ellen’s priorities for the Seanad will include equality, education and mental health, equal access to education for all children regardless of social background or religious status from eary years to third level, the production of a second SAVI (Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland) report to measure the true prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland so as to appropriately support progress in combating these crimes.
She will support the repeal of the eighth amendment and for its replacement with legislation “to allow women to make their own decisions in some very difficult situations.
Furthermore, she will be seeking the expansion of counselling and psychotherapy services, particularly for suicide prevention and better mental health services for both men and women.
Ellen O’Malley Dunlop is also calling on the next government to focus on education investment.
“Government investment in 3rd level education alone dropped from circa €1.6bn in 2005 to €939m in 2014.
“We will all reap the benefits of educational investmenl. We need to challenge the way the state looks at education and think of it a asset instead of an expense.”