The head of the Cork Sexual Violence Centre has condemned the organisers of a Covid ‘civil rights and truth’ rally for refusing to defer it to avoid clashing with a vigil for Ashling Murphy, who was murdered in Tullamore on Wednesday.
Mary Crilly described the group's refusal to delay, defer or postpone the march or to alter its route to avoid passing the city centre vigil as “outrageous and selfish”.
“I’m stunned, we are all stunned and angered by what happened in Tullamore and people are going around trying to find ways of expressing that anger, and support,” Ms Crilly said.
“A man came into the centre first thing Friday morning with two candles for our candle-light vigil outside our centre later.
“And the idea that this ‘civil rights’ march would happen at the same time as a vigil for Ashling Murphy, a march which could be held at a different time, on a different day, it’s incredibly selfish.
“Women and men are outraged and shocked by what happened in Tullamore.
The Independent Campaign for Truth and Proper Healthcare, a group which is opposed to the various public health restrictions and who are highly suspicious of the state’s Covid vaccination programme, plan to march through the city centre from 2pm tomorrow and then hold a rally outside Bishop Lucey Park, with various speakers.
The march route will take them past a ‘standout’ solidarity vigil for Ashling Murphy at the junction of Patrick’s St and Winthrop St at 2pm.
Solidarity councillor Fiona Ryan, who is involved in the organisation of the vigil with ROSA Cork, said: "Saturday is in effect a day of national mourning, with vigils in almost every city and town around the country.
"They could change the route of their march, with no impact on their civil rights or free speech.
"It's pig headedness, especially at a time when men are meant to be listening. This shows a level of arrogance."
Speakers at the rally will talk about their concerns about certain public health restrictions, and about what they say is the need for more “informed consent, truth and information” about the Covid vaccine.
They will also express concerns about digital Covid certs, and what they describe as the segregation caused by the vaccine programme.
Covid rally spokesman, Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, defended the timing and route of the march, which he said has been in place, and publicised for several days.
And he said it was too late to rearrange or reroute it to avoid a clash.
“The logistics involved at this late stage make it next to impossible,” he said.
“This is not an anti-vaxx march. It’s pro choice and pro freedom. We respect peoples’ right to wear masks and take a vaccine.
“But freedom of choice requires people to be informed fully."
The group is planning a similar march and rally in Dublin city centre next weekend.