AP front 1 - 2022

14 January 2022

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Women and girls have lived in fear forever – Mary Lou McDonald

• Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald

Speaking ahead of a vigil outside Leinster House this afternoon in memory of Ashling Murphy, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said:

“My thoughts are with Ashling’s family, her friends, her pupils and colleagues at school and the whole community in Tullamore who are facing unimaginable heartbreak. The entire country is reeling from this horrendous attack which has seen a woman’s life cut short.

“Violence against women and girls, and the fear of it, is far too common and blights the lives of women and girls across the country. Harassment is the norm, not the exception. We have the right to be safe on our streets and in our homes. Yet too often, we are not.

“We have seen an outpouring of grief, fear and solidarity in the last few days. Women of all ages are sharing their experiences of the everyday abuse and hassle they get on the streets, in their workplaces or when out with friends. Too many are also not safe in their own homes.

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“Surely now is the time for us to come together to say enough is enough. To agree as society that we have no truck with any expression or act of abuse or violence against our women and girls.

“A key part of this will be the government expedite the strategies, resources and funding needed to tackle and end violence against women.

“Crucial to this will be the third national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. Government must publish the strategy, and critically we need to see an integrated and fully resourced implementation plan.

“We urgently need better data on sexual, violent and gender-based crime in Ireland to measure the true scale.

“Tackling the inadequate sex, gender and sexuality education programmes for children and young adults must be prioritised. We are failing our girls and boys if we do not protect and educate them on harassment and consent.

“Women and girls have lived in fear forever. Let that sink in. As mothers we will not allow our daughters to grow up with that same fear too. Enough is enough.”

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Contributions from key figures in the churches, academia and wider civic society as well as senior republican figures

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