Broken families united today to remember women across Ireland who have been murdered at the hands of brutal killers.
More than 60 people united outside the Dáil for a minute’s silence to mark International Day against Violence against Women.
Candles were lit in memory of the dead as an installation of black and white tiles recorded the date each of the 138 women in the country were murdered since 1996.
The event, organised by Women’s Aid, also launched the global 16 Days of Action against violence against women.
“Research shows that nearly half of the murders were committed by a husband, ex-husband, partner or ex-partner,” said Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid.
“With almost one woman murdered every month, with a significant number as a result of domestic violence, it is imperative that we act now before more lives are lost.
“It is important for us to hold this outside the Dail so we can raise it as a political issue. The only way we can tackle it is through a consistent approach by government.”
The families of Rachel O’Reilly, Siobhan Kearney, Mamie Walsh, and Rosie Collinson were among those at the minute’s silence.
Anne Delcassian, whose sister Irene White was murdered in her Dundalk home in April 2005, travelled from Manchester home to help highlight the plight of domestic violence victims in Ireland.
“It is painful for family members to get together, but there is a lot of support among us because we are all after the one goal, justice,” said Mrs Delcassian.
“I’m not just here for Irene, I’m here for every single women murdered in Ireland, even prior to 1996.
“There seems to be no protection for women stuck in violent relationships here, the system is weakening.
“Women’s Aid is doing their best but there is little or no funding for them.
“The major companies should take advantage of the tax incentives of donating to a charity and plough their money into this cause.”
Mrs White was stabbed to death at her kitchen sink. Despite two arrests, no-one has been charged with her number.
On Good Friday – the anniversary of her murder – Mrs Delcassian held a vigil outside her sister’s home in memory of the 126 women who had, up to then, been killed violently across Ireland.
Since then the family of murdered Cork teenager Sheola Keaney and Advic (Advocates for victims of homicide Ireland) have held similar events.
A service is also planned next Wednesday night in Ringsend, while memoriam cards remembering the 138 women have been circulated widely to politicians and domestic violence services countywide.
Meanwhile, Women’s Aid is calling on the Government to introduce a National Domestic Violence Plan to reduce domestic violence homicide in Ireland, similar to the one in place in the UK.
“Homicide in London has been reduced by more than 90% in four years,” continued Mr Martin.
“The plan focuses on protection of victims of domestic violence, including intensive training for police and crown prosecution service, specialised domestic violence courts, and sentencing guidelines for domestic violence.
“The UK experience shows that a co-ordinated plan, fully resourced with a focus on the legal system can and does work to address the issue of domestic violence in a meaningful way and reduce the number of domestic violence homicides.”