Ashling Murphy murder must be 'watershed' in society's approach to gender-based violence, says Taoiseach

Micheál Martin has told the Dáil that a cross-party Oireachtas approach is now required to tackle gender-based violence.
Ashling Murphy murder must be 'watershed' in society's approach to gender-based violence, says Taoiseach

People attending a vigil at Leinster House last Friday for the murdered Aisling Murphy who died after being attacked while she was jogging along the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The Taoiseach has led tributes to Ashling Murphy in the Dáil, stating that her murder must act as a "watershed" in our society's approach to the undermining of women and gender-based violence.

Micheál Martin has told the Dáil that a cross-party Oireachtas approach is now required to tackle gender-based violence.

"In that context, men need to listen more and hear women more on this and related issues," he said.

"We need to eliminate this from our society, as well as all aspects of the undermining of women in a misogynistic or any other form. That takes a multifaceted approach embracing prevention, protection, security and education. 

In short, it needs a sea change in culture, not just legislation and initiatives, to eliminate this."

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald said the "roots of sexism and misogyny run deep", and whilst much has changed in Ireland in recent decades, a "toxic culture" still remains.

She said the killing of Ms Murphy must act as a turning point, and called for an urgent meeting of leaders from across the Government and Opposition, which Mr Martin agreed should take place.

"This a rare moment for change," she said. "The safety, dignity and lives of women demand political action and unity."

She added: "The face of misogyny has changed, but it has not gone away. Today's Ireland, our place, our daughters' Ireland, is ugly and dangerous still. 

Whether it is the unsolicited sexual photos, the online stalking and abuse, harassment in shops, in nightclubs, on the bus, on bicycles, at work, or at college. It is the intimidation of lewd commentary and catcalling. It is the neverending mansplaining. It is the gaslighting and the coercive control. It is rape."

As the Dáil returned after the Christmas recess, leas-Cheann Comhairle Catherine Connolly paid tribute to the murdered teacher by stating politicians "acknowledge the devastation caused to her family, friends, and the community by Ashling's tragic, untimely and premature death.

"We remember the joy Ashling brought to people's lives, and we extend our deepest condolences to all who knew her," she said. "Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam agus suaimhneas síoraí di."

Extending his sympathies to Ms Murphy's family, friends and colleagues, Labour leader Alan Kelly said the word "watershed" is often used in the Dáil for many different things.

"Sometimes the word is misplaced, and sometimes those sentiments are not followed up on," he said. "We are all guilty of that. 

This, however, must be a watershed moment when it comes to violence against women. It simply must be.

"Everyone who has been elected to this House is a leader. We must address violence against the women of this country, because it has ended many lives."

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox

Execution Time: 0.207 s