‘Cowards beat wives and shame their country’, says Taoiseach

Men who beat their wives are cowards and bring shame on their country, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

He was responding to the Labour Leader Brendan Howlin during Leaders’ Questions who raised a new Woman’s Aid report which showed that in 2015, the national domestic abuse service received 16,375 disclosures of domestic abuse against women and 5,966 disclosures of child abuse.

In a powerful contribution, Mr Howlin described in stark terms the nature of abuse suffered by women across Ireland.

“These figures will shock not only those of us in this Chamber but also everybody across the country. Across Ireland, women have been choked, scalded, strangled, punched, spat at, cut with knives and hit with golf clubs. These are acts of barbarism,” he said.

“Over the past 20 years, 211 women have been murdered in Ireland, almost half at the hands of people using their bare hands. In 2015 in Ireland, far too many women lived in fear. That continues this year. The women live in fear of physical and psychological abuse, and they fear for their children. We clearly need to do more to protect women in the home and women in relationships,” he added.

Mr Howlin called on Mr Kenny to extend funding for the 24/7 national freephone helpline in recognition of the real issues that have been highlighted today in the Women’s Aid report?

In response, Mr Kenny said what Deputy Brendan Howlin has raised was a “litany of shame and cowardice on the part of those who inflict violence on women”.

“Those who do so are not macho. Those who do so should be ashamed of themselves because they bring shame on our country,” he said.

“I do not know the costs involved but I am sure a case could be made that would bring it about. If the making of a call would protect one person fearing for her life, the helpline will have to be considered. I will follow up on that issue immediately,” Mr Kenny said.

Mr Howlin said the Dail should debate the Woman’s Aid report as soon as possible.

Mr Kenny said in response said: “I am sure we can find an opportunity to debate a report of such profound implications for women all over the country as it needs to be debated”.

More on this topic

'It has a devastating impact': Women's Aid welcome first conviction for coercive control'It has a devastating impact': Women's Aid welcome first conviction for coercive control

Campaigner criticises Government over failure to tackle domestic violence crisisCampaigner criticises Government over failure to tackle domestic violence crisis

Domestic violence campaigner from Dublin to address major UK conferenceDomestic violence campaigner from Dublin to address major UK conference

Pregnant victims of domestic violence can become 'invisible in health' Pregnant victims of domestic violence can become 'invisible in health'


Lifestyle

March is the perfect time to take action when it comes to your lawn, writes Peter DowdallGrassroots campaign: Take action in your lawn

Robin Maharaj, director at Kilkenny Architectural Salvage and AntiquesRobin Maharaj: ‘If you take a longterm view you won’t go wrong’

Fond recollections of a legend, an industry titan comes to Cork, Grimes' new album impresses critics, and Cork French Film Festival announces its lineup, writes Des O'DriscollScene and Heard: ‘Fail we may, sail we must’

Irish Examiner arts editor Des O'Driscoll picks his top gigs from the weekend's event, at venues around Cork City.Right Here, Right Now: this weekend's highlights

More From The Irish Examiner