Calls to tackle domestic violence on International Women’s Day

Campaigners have called on the government to tackle domestic violence at a protest on International Women’s Day.

Hundreds of people gathered on the iconic O’Connell Bridge to protest gender inequality, rising levels of domestic violence and rape culture.

A special cabinet meeting was held to mark International Women’s Day and the government say they considered and approved a number of measures to foster gender equality and to promote greater gender balance across a number of areas.

They have since been criticised for holding a photo-call with The National Women’s Council of Ireland on Friday morning, where they formally ratified the Istanbul convention, the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women.

Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger says ratifying the convention will prove fruitless unless more funding is made available for women fleeing violence.

“In the last week alone we’ve seen Clodagh Hawe’s relatives speaking, a woman murdered in her own home in Dublin and unfortunately today we’ve heard reports of the two women killed in Newry,” she said.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Ruth Coppinger joins with protesters (Brian Lawless/PA)</figcaption>
Ruth Coppinger joins with protesters (Brian Lawless/PA)

“It’s a global epidemic of violence against women and I support the convention that’s been signed today, but that’s pointless unless you resource refuges, and rape crisis centres, and we have to challenge and smash the culture that perpetuates violence against women in the first place.

“A photo opportunity this morning with the Women’s Council was exactly what it was and I wouldn’t have facilitated Fine Gael in that way because I believe these parties have not got a track record on women’s rights whatsoever.

“They’re now seeing it’s fashionable to support gender equality but it’s very token, and doesn’t mean anything.”

Campaigners at the protest also noted the considerable effect the current homelessness crisis has on women, and that many women are forced to stay in dangerous situations as they feel they have nowhere to go.

Another key theme in the protest was the lack of abortion rights in Northern Ireland, with organisers calling on the crowds to support the campaign on the issue to ensure “no woman is left behind”.

- Press Association

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