The Social Democrats have expressed solidarity with women across the island of Ireland who have been deeply disturbed by the death of Sarah Everard in the UK and the disproportionate actions by police at the Clapham Common vigil.

In a statement, party representatives said that women must be able to live an active life in society, free from harassment or gender-based violence. They believe that politics must play its part in addressing the many issues that make this violence far too common.

Dublin City Councillor Cat O’Driscoll commented:

“The 2018 Safe in Ireland report showed that nine in ten women feel unsafe in Ireland just because of their gender; more than one third have experienced physical harassment in public; and six in ten don’t feel safe taking the bus.

“In my first year on Dublin City Council, when I asked for better lit paths during commuting times in our parks, the impact on stargazers and biodiversity was prioritised over women making their way home or taking exercise in the evening or on dark mornings. It’s time to make our cities and towns safer for all women and girls.”

Cllr Jodie Neary of Wicklow County Council said:

“It’s time we questioned why our streets have turned into obstacle courses for women. We need to rethink how our public spaces are designed, planned and serviced so it’s not just about surviving for girls and women. We must audit our public spaces for safety, educate about male violence and properly resource protection and refuge services. Only then can our public spaces be equally shared across all genders, ages and abilities.”

Cork South West TD Holly Cairns said:

“The tragic case of Sarah Everard in the UK and the #ReclaimTheStreets campaign has resulted in women once again telling their stories of assault, harassment and living with fear. Each story is shocking and upsetting in its own right, but the really infuriating reality is that for so many of us they are a depressingly common experience.

“We need a comprehensive and joined-up response, from the very serious issues of the hostile way victims of gender-based violence are treated to the everyday lack of proper street lighting and disregarding of women’s voices and experiences. We need public services that understand and respond to the needs of survivors and victims, regardless of their location, class, ethnicity or gender.”

March 19, 2021

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