A taskforce examining the safety of politicians echoes calls by Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore to remove the requirement for election candidates to publish their home address on nomination and ballot papers.

Deputy Whitmore, who has proposed these measures in her Electoral (Home Address of Candidates) Bill 2024, said:

“According to media reports, the Taskforce on Safe Participation in Political Life acknowledges that the abuse of public representatives is problematic and is disproportionately targeted at women and minority groups.

“One of the unpublished report’s recommendations is that it should no longer be a requirement for election candidates to publish their home address and that this should be optional.

“Security and safety are legitimate concerns for election candidates, with threats against those running for public office becoming more frequent and increasingly sinister in nature.

“Much of the abuse levelled at women, both online and in the real world, is often gendered and sexualised in nature. The last thing we need is to create further disincentives to female participation in politics when we are trying to achieve the opposite.

“Members of minority groups might also be discouraged from running for election if they are required to publish their address for fear of being targeted.

“On June 7, we will have local and European elections in Ireland, with a general election less than a year away. If the Government genuinely cares about the safety and wellbeing of candidates, it should enact my Bill as a matter of urgency.”

March 15, 2024

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