Ashling Murphy’s murder was an evil act and will be treated as such, says Justice Minister

There must be “zero tolerance” for violence against women following the murder of Ashling Murphy, Justice Minister Helen McEntee has said.

Urging anyone with information about the killing to contact the gardaí, Ms McEntee said the wider issue of violence against women, including sexual and domestic abuse, must be addressed.

“We need to take into account what has happened in our society and ensure that there is zero tolerance for violence against women,” she said. “It is a priority for me and for this government.

In a few weeks, I will publish the new national strategy on sexual and domestic violence. How we achieve our goals will be across all sections of government – ​​education, social housing and justice. »

She said Ms Murphy’s murder was “an evil act and will be treated as such”, and that she too had experienced situations where she felt unsafe.

Politicians said legislative and cultural change is now needed to tackle gender-based violence and called for an overhaul of sexual health education from an early age.

Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said a new curriculum based on respect, consent and character is urgently needed. She said it could be taught as early as primary school, in an age-appropriate way.

Jennifer Carroll MacNeil. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

She said: “I drop my little boy off at school, and I watch the playground, and any parent who drops their child has to wonder – what are we going to do to make him different from what he is. was for our generation, for my mother’s generation?

“The only thing we can do to stop this cycle of creating abusers and abusers is to try to teach them differently.”

Ms Carroll McNeil said: “Until there is a profound change in the way we think about men and women in truly egalitarian terms, the idea that women are different or more vulnerable because they are physically more vulnerable will just persist.”

This was echoed by Solidarity/PBP TD Paul Murphy, who said there are no “overnight solutions” to gender-based violence, but education and awareness have a huge impact on the how women are represented and objectified.

Solidarity/PBP TD Paul Murphy.  Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Solidarity/PBP TD Paul Murphy. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

He said any new curriculum should also be compulsory, as he pointed to the fact that currently schools can opt out of sex education because of their philosophy.

“The answer to a murdered woman cannot be calls for women to change their behavior – that is not the answer,” he said.

Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen said it should be recognized that women do not feel safe.

“I can walk around, I’m a man, I feel safe, but not women, it’s not equality,” he said.

Minister of State Josepha Madigan said the Oireachtas Select Committee on Gender Equality due to meet this year must now focus on violence against women.

However, she also suggested that apps and other measures to protect women could be introduced.

“We need to look at practical measures like panic buttons, maybe,” she said, but added that the “root causes” including education in schools also need to be looked at.

Expressing sympathy for Ms Murphy’s family and friends, MEP Frances Fitzgerald said: “Every 10 years a city the size of Marseilles, Amsterdam or Zagreb disappears from the world.

“It is estimated that 87,000 women worldwide are killed every year simply because they are women, it is femicide.”

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