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 Free Dessie Ellis, Sinn Féin TD, spoke this morning  on the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2014.

Yesterday, I stood with party colleagues and other members of the Oireachtas at the Dáil gates for a minute’s silence in memory of the men and women and children who have died at the hands of their partner or ex-partner since 1996. This was a very poignant event coming on the International Day Opposing Violence Against Women. A shocking 78 women and 10 children have been murdered in these 18 years. The event was organised by Women’s Aid who had laid out shoes along a blank sheet to mark a timeline of these needless and tragic deaths. Shoes, flat heels and sandals standing in silent memoriam of the lives stolen. These lives as the vigil so movingly stated are stolen lives. They are stolen from their families, their friends, their communities. Snuffed out by an abuser who should’ve been stopped.

One in five women experience domestic violence in their lifetime. This ranges from physical, emotional, sexual to financial abuse. From abuse, threats to kill and abuse behaviour, to stalking and harassment. By their very nature these are mostly crimes which go on behind closed doors when the curtains are drawn when the world around stops looking. But it also happens right out in the open.

We must strive to improve public awareness of the risk factors of domestic violence and to encourage everyone to make their homes, their community, their circle of friends, a place where this kind of abuse will never be accepted. Because unfortunately we have a culture today where subtly every day teaches young men to do many of the things that can lead to domestic violence. This trend in our society is called the ‘rape culture’. Its name is shocking and some dismiss this as over over the top but the symptoms are undeniable and its effects illustrated by those 78 empty womens’ shoes are too horrific to ignore. Rape culture is the tendency in modern culture to dehumanise, devalue and commodify women. It has always been there but has become much more obvious in the modern era with the partial successes of the early feminist movement and the 24-hour consumer capitalist culture which has sprung up alongside the internet.

Technology is not to blame but it is often the medium through which this culture finds its most vile expression. This tendency creates a culture which normalises the idea that women’s bodies are not wholly their own. It encourages blaming rape victims instead of rapists. It jokes about men who beat their partners and it belittles, demonises and threatens all those who challenge it. This is the culture our young men are growing up in.

It seems like every week there is a new case of a woman who has been a victim of sexual assault who has watched her abuser go free because a judge felt sympathetic to the criminal. These judges have handed down fines for which must be the vile and reprehensible crimes a person can commit. This is a slap in the face to those who sought to have their attacker prosecuted but it also says to women and girls who are victims of sexual violence: Don’t bother, the state will not punish your attacker but you will be put through the mill anyway.

As with many of our worst social issues, there are why many whose voices are not heard. This is why we have brought the bill. It’s to try to make it easier for people to flee this kind of abuse. It is crucial that we promote opposition to this kind of behaviour.

But it is also essential, that people who seek to leave, to get out can do so, can be supported, validated and protected. That is what we seek to do.


Full text of speech via here.

Earlier: Staying In Tomorrow Night?

Previously: Falls Memory Syndrome

Féin Concern

Briege Of Trust

Kick In The Shinns

“Unfounded And Untrue”

Police, Judge And Executioner

“Would 50 Murders Be An Exaggeration?”


Deputy Noel Coonan (Fine Gael) has jihad it up to here with the water protests.

“I come from the town of Templemore where we train every Garda in the country and the people down there and right across the country that I’ve met are horrified by what’s going on. And I think that it has been an awakening call for them because they are now concerned about elements of socialists, the so-called wealthy Socialist Party led by ‘The Murph’ and company and aided and abetted by extremists within our colleagues here from Sinn Féin. And I think that that needs to be nipped in the bud. The people have given that signal to us now: nip that in the bud, if not we are facing what is potentially an ISIS situation in the Middle East if those people are allowed get on to do what they’re doing. God help this country and people realise that.

We talk about Dublin and the people who are protesting here in Dublin the socialist led group, they don’t care about the country people. Country people all over down through the years had to pay for their water. Be it in group schemes, private wells, whatever and they want to act like parasites and live off of the country people. They’ve never acknowledged the role that the people down the country, small business people who operate from their own home who have to pay for their water. Businesses in the country who’ve had to pay for their water, the role that they have given in this country in bad times. They provided the money.”

They’ll be heading here soon.

Mark his words.


“I look forward to seeing already the implementation on the ground in my own town €5m has been spent on fixing leaking pipes. Pipes that had local authorities out every other day, fixing pipes along the road, such a waste of resources. Businesses, substantial businesses without water, whole housing estates without water and when you look into the ground which I did myself, the pipes had just simply melted….

And of course, water charges are not popular but the social benefits that we will reap now and into the future and already the plans for Roscommon are being implemented and people will in the very short-term I expect and we’ve been told will benefit from that. We will all reap it in the end. We are building something for the future here. We are addressing problems that under the previous system could not be addressed in the past. So let us not be swatted from our goal in returning this country to its productive very best by those who talk but don’t have a clue how to do it.”

Mayo TD Michelle Mulherin (Fine Gael) speaking in the Dáil this morning on Irish Water.

There you go now.


The Seanad held a minute’s silence this morning at 11am in memory of women who have died as a result of domestic violence.


Out of picture: Symphysiotomy, denial of life-saving medical care, forced birth, threatened closure of women’s shelters and detention in Magdalene Laundries.


Taoiseach Enda Kenny on RTÉ’s Nine News tonight:

“And I think it should also be said Eileen, if I may say so that the average worker, a single worker on the minimum wage of 35,000 is going to get back €400 in the income tax returns starting in January.”

A Freudian slip from An Taoiseach.

Minimum wage is €8.65 per hour, 39 hours per week, 52 weeks per year = €17,542.

He should do more of these.

New charging structure of Irish Water to cost Exchequer €84m (RTÉ News)


An anti-abortion protester has been convicted of harassing a Marie Stopes clinic director at her Belfast city centre offices.

Bernadette Smyth, who leads the anti-abortion group Precious Life, was warned she could face a jail sentence for her campaign against Dawn Purvis.

The judge said: “This case was run, no-holds barred, in a vicious and malicious fashion.”

He said an investigating police officer had been deliberately slandered.

Ms Purvis had been the victim of an unwarranted attack, the judge said.

Mrs Smyth was also told she will be ordered to pay compensation and would be restrained from the area around the clinic.

The 51-year-old had denied harassing Ms Purvis – a former Progressive Unionist Party assembly member – on two dates earlier this year.

With sentencing put back until next month, Mrs Smyth was told her potential punishment could be community service or prison.

The judge said anti-abortion campaigners stationed outside the clinic had been forcing any women of child-bearing age to identify their reasons for entering.

Because of that conduct, he said the range of possible sentencing may go from community service to imprisonment.

Mrs Smyth was told she will certainly have some form of restraining order imposed on her.

Although she left court without making comment, her solicitor described the verdict as “a disappointment for Christians worldwide“.

Anti-abortion protester Bernadette Smyth guilty of harassing Dawn Purvis (BBC News NI)

Previously: Bernie Smyth on Broadsheet


Last night on BBC One, Spotlight’s Mandy McAuley investigated the use of public money to pay the rent of constituency offices of MLAs including Arlene Foster (DUP), Ross Hussey (UUP) and Sinn Féin members Martin McGuinness, Francie Molloy, Mitchel McLaughlin and Daithí McKay.

If ye can’t beat them, rob them.

The second part of the two-part exposé continues next Tuesday.

Part one is repeated tonight on BBC Two NI at 11:20pm.

Spotlight: Sir Alistair Graham calls for probe into Northern Ireland MLAs’ rent money (BBC News NI)

Previously: Kerching Féin