We Must Enact New Robust Laws and Resource our Enforcement Agencies

Addressing a motion in the Dail on Wednesday on Gender Based Violence, Deputy Michael
Lowry said that Government must enact new robust laws and resource our Enforcement
Agencies. He also said that educating our children and young people that violence, cruelty,
oppression and murder will not be tolerated is essential to bringing about the change that is
justifiably demanded by people across the country at this time.

In his Statement to the Dail, Deputy Lowry said that ‘The events of last week plunged the entire
country into sadness and despair. People across Ireland and beyond were shocked, repulsed
and understandably panicked by the senseless killing of a young, vibrant and talented woman.

‘Within hours the shock turned to anger. The panic turned to fury. The horror of what took
place has led to demands that what happened to Ashling Murphy on that canal path must never
be allowed to happen again.

‘It is impossible to disagree with such reactions. Violence in any form is not acceptable. Recent
years in Ireland have seen an inexorable rise in violent crime. Men, women and children have
lost their lives under despicable circumstances. Some killed by strangers and others by trusted
family members.

‘In an ideal world we would eradicate violence. Unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world.
The safety of our fellow human beings can never be guaranteed, regardless of what laws and
actions are put in place.

‘That does not mean that there is nothing we can do to prevent a repeat of what happened to
Ashling and hundreds before her’ he said.

‘Violence of all types has been played out to such an extent on our TV screens in recent years
that people have become almost immune to seeing it. Familiar faces on screens in our kitchens
and living rooms carry out domestic, sexual and gender based acts of violence on a daily basis.
Children and vulnerable adults are exposed to this to such an extent that that they are no
longer abhorred by it. They watch it with their families. Subconsciously, they begin to accept it
as normal. This is fueled by the Internet and Social Media. With this combination formative
minds of our young people are distorted and desensitised to violence.

‘The first step that must be taken to address this is to educate our children that violence,
cruelty, oppression and murder are not normal. That they will not be tolerated.

‘This education must start primarily in the home, in our schools, on our sports fields and in
youth activities. Parents, teachers and mentors must strive to effectively instill the need for
respect and equality in our children. Respect and equality for all, regardless of gender, age,
ethnicity, colour or creed.

‘This education should and must continue into our Third Level educational facilities. It must
then continue into our workplaces and social outlets.

‘Respect and responsibility must become a normal part of everyday life. This can only happen if
it starts from the bottom up. If it is taught from an early age.

‘Women are not treated equally in many situations. The inequality may be less blatant than it
was in years past, but it remains. It remains engrained in the psyche of many men. It remains a
heavy burden for many women.

‘Similarly, it must be acknowledged that gender equality must be across the board.
Stereotyping of both men and women must end. The use of inappropriate behaviour by men
must be called out. Shallow condemnation of women, who are all too often accused of
instigating the crimes carried out against them, belong to a different era.

‘So too does the belief that men cannot be the victims of violent acts and false accusations by
women. The change being demanded must be across the board.

‘From a judicial perspective, the general public needs to know that justice will be done when
the perpetrator of violent crime is brought to justice. The sentence handed down must be the
sentence served. Nothing less is tolerable. This is just one of the ways in which Government can
bring about positive change’

Deputy Lowry concluded ‘I welcome the fact that the Government has carried out months of
extensive work on Legislation to address all forms of gender violence, which is due to come
before the House in March. It is needed. It is demanded. We must enact new robust laws. We
must fully resource our enforcement agencies and implement the full rigours of the law’