Holly Cairns TD

The Dáil will debate a Social Democrats’ motion on Wednesday, July 10, calling on the Government to match its words with action on adopting a zero tolerance approach to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.

Party leader Holly Cairns said:

“Just last night, a harrowing RTÉ Investigates documentary revealed details of historic abuse allegations made by women players against coaches in the Football Association of Ireland.

“Too often, it takes women speaking out about their own trauma and experience of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence before State institutions or the Government take any action.

“The shocking cases of Natasha O’Brien and Bláthnaid Raleigh are just two recent examples of how the bravery of survivors has helped shine a spotlight on these insidious crimes against women and sparked renewed debate on the issue.

“The Women of Honour group are also to be commended for highlighting a shameful catalogue of abuse against women in the Defence Forces. This was long before the public revulsion that greeted Cathal Crotty’s suspended sentence and subsequent revelation that 68 serving members of the army have been convicted of crimes or are before the courts charged with criminal offences.

“The slow pace of reform is evident in many areas – including the chronic shortage of refuge spaces; endemic problems in our criminal justice system; and a failure to regulate, or adequately regulate, a variety of professions.

“Oversight of the taxi industry is just one area identified in our motion as being in need of reform. This follows the case of a taxi driver who was recently convicted of raping two young women after picking them up in his cab – despite the fact he had separate previous convictions for serious sexual offences.

“There must be a review of taxi regulations, including the power of An Garda Siochána to revoke or suspend a Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV) driver licence, the operation of those powers, and whether they are sufficient.

“Meanwhile, the Dental Council of Ireland have warned that patient safety cannot be assured because of a failure by successive governments to update the 1985 Dentists Act. In one case, this prevented the council from being able to sanction an unregulated dentist operating in this jurisdiction, even though this individual had a previous conviction for sexual assault.

“In addition, counselling and psychotherapy services in Ireland remain completely unregulated.

“Domestic, sexual and gender-based violence is an epidemic in our society. Last month, Women’s Aid revealed it had received more than 40,000 disclosures of abuse against women and children in 2023 – the highest number in its 50-year history.

“Words of outrage and condemnation in the Dáil are not enough. It is now time we saw evidence of the Government’s professed zero tolerance approach to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.”

July 8, 2024

Back to all Posts