Families’ heartfelt plea at vigil for murdered women

THE grieving families of women who died violently over the last decade gathered for an emotional vigil in Dundalk, Co Louth, yesterday.

The vigil was held outside the house where 43-year-old mother of three Irene White was found stabbed to death on April 6, 2005. Her mother — who has since passed away — discovered her body in a pool of blood on her kitchen floor.

The aunt and the elderly parents of French woman Sophie Toscan Du Plantier who was found dead on December 23, 1996, Georges and Marguerite Bouniol, and the family of murdered Dublin woman Rachel O’Reilly, who was killed on October 4, 2004, were among the relatives there to highlight the tragedy of the 126 women who died violently since 1996.

Some 126 St Brigid’s Crosses stood outside the house bearing the names of every murdered woman, while a large photo of Irene White overlooked the crowd.

In addition to hundreds of local people, the vigil was attended by the family of Siobhan Kearney, who was found strangled at her home in Dublin on January 31, 2006, and the mother of Gráinne Dillon, who was stabbed to death on January 5, 2002, while working in Jury’s Inn, Limerick.

The poignant vigil, which took place at noon on Good Friday, was organised by Irene’s sister, Anne Delcassian.

“We are here today in memory of my beautiful sister, Irene, my mother, Maureen, and all 126 women who have died through acts of tremendous violence in Ireland since 1996,” Ms Delcassian said.

She issued a warning to those involved in the murder of her sister and a plea to those close to them to contact the gardaí.

“Let me warn those who have robbed my sister of life — I know who you are. I know who planned my sister’s murder and I know why. I appeal to any member of your family who has the guts to speak out against these low-lives to bring your information to the detectives, end our pain and do the decent thing,” Ms Delcassian added.

She also spoke out strongly against the Irish legal system which she feels allows murderers to walk free.

“Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s family have come here today to stand in solidarity to express our utter revulsion at this Government as they allow Ireland, once known as the Land of Saints and Scholars to become the crime capital of Europe. They do this by allowing long out-dated laws to give those involved in crimes of such an appalling nature to wander free, while my sister Irene was subjected to one of the most savage attacks in the history of Ireland,” Ms Delcassian said.

Margaret Martin of Women’s Aid said: “Irene, like so many other women murdered in Ireland was murdered in her own home and while not all women who are murdered suffered from domestic violence, murder is certainly the most extreme form of domestic violence.”

Meanwhile detective gardaí who are investigating the murder of Irene White also attended the vigil, and appealed to anyone who had any information to come forward.

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