It Is a Time for Men to Listen.
Each week Ciarán Quinn sends a Letter from Ireland as part of the Friends of Sinn Féin Newsletter.
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Ireland this week has been united in grief at the killing of Ashling Murphy.
The 23-year-old, primary school teacher and musician, was attacked and killed while out for a run along the banks of the Grand Canal just outside Tullamore, County Offaly. A man has been arrested and charged with the murder.
Ms. Murphy's killing has sparked calls for more to be done to tackle domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence towards women.
It has created a necessary space for women's voices to be heard. It is a time for men to listen.
I like to go for a run. I would think nothing of putting on my running gear, turning on my earphones, and heading out for a jog on a dark evening.
My two daughters do not enjoy the same. This week women have been telling of the threats, comments, and looks they experience while out for a run. It is not restricted to exercise, it is true in all public places and at any time.
As Irish Republicans, we believe in equality and equal rights for all. There is an Irish proverb, “Ní Saoirse go Saoirse na mBan - There is no freedom until the freedom of women”.
This old slogan holds true and must be put into effect.
This week Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said,
"Violence against women and girls, and the fear of it, is far too common and blights the lives of women and girls across the country. Harassment is the norm, not the exception. We have the right to be safe on our streets and in our homes. Yet too often, we are not.
"This moment has to be a tipping point. This is an all of society problem that exists in our families, in our homes, in our communities, and in our schools; right across society.”
Now is the time to listen to women and to talk to our sons, brothers, friends, and fathers.
Attitudes lead to actions. Let us challenge the pervasive attitudes against women and make clear there is no place for threats and violence. Ireland must be a safe, warm, and welcoming home for all.
Ciarán Quinn is the Sinn Féin Representative to North America