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SHE Speaks

Chloe O’ Malley wants to see more young women like herself on the makeup of county councils

Chloe O’Malley wants to see more young women like herself on the makeup of county councils. When Chloe came to live and work on one of the Aran Islands just over a year ago, she was amazed to find that highspeed broadband and a strong mobile phone signal were some of the advantages of island life. It was a far cry from the situation in her native Louisburgh, Co Mayo where an abysmal phone signal and poor internet connectivity meant that she very often missed important calls as well as making it virtually impossible to work remotely.

Chloe always had an interest in politics and community work and after she graduated from Maynooth University with an Honours degree in Social Science Community and Youth Work, she took up a position as Manager of Comhar Caomhán Teo on Inis Oírr of the Aran Islands, employed by Údarás na Gaeltachta, serving the Islanders as a Community Development officer and trading co-operative.

At her heart, Chloe is a volunteer, community activist & leader, mentor & motivator and a passionate young person positively making a difference in County Mayo, Inis Oírr and further afield. She got involved with SHESchool and SeeHerElected because she didn’t see enough young females like herself on the makeup of county councils. She was impressed with the new SHE guidebook to running in the 2024 elections and decided to sign up for some of the online classes.

“I love the fact that the SHESchool classes are so accessible and free of charge. It’s fantastic- no matter what background or class you are from you can access SHESchool, all you need is to have an internet connection. Michelle and Kathleen are very supportive, and that mentoring and one-to-one support really makes a difference. I also love the fact that SHESchool is apolitical so they can offer independent and honest advice and give you a realistic outlook of things rather than a political party only telling you what they want you to hear,” said Chloe.

Having attended SHESchool Chloe feels she now has a better in depth understanding of politics and has gained a wider knowledge of how democracy works at its very heart. “I have always been a very proactive person but SHESchool has helped to show me how I can influence change through local government structures for example. It’s also great to network with other like-minded women and it helps instil confidence in us,” explained Chloe.

She wants to help bring about change in her native Louisburgh someday.

“If we want to see more young people coming back to live in parts of County Mayo like my home town of Louisburgh then we as young people need to be part of the future planning. There are huge opportunities for remote working for example but also lots of challenges as without highspeed broadband or a good phone signal it’s just not possible. In Louisburgh and parts of rural southwest Mayo there is no bin collection, no phone signal, no street lighting, or footpaths and yet these people pay the same taxes as everyone else,” said Chloe.

She is keen to make a difference within the political landscape of County Mayo where there are currently only two women out of 30 councillors.

“I would like to help manage a campaign or I might consider running in the local elections in 2024 for the southwest Mayo area. I feel now is the time more than ever for Westport Rural area and offshore Islands to have a woman as a councillor working to find solutions. I feel it is important to have more women at Mayo County Council decision making tables- women represent half of the population- why are we not at the table- it’s time for balance- women can make a real difference.”