The Government’s response to sexual violence in Ireland has been labelled an ‘abysmal failure.’
It comes after two teenage boys were sentenced for the murder of schoolgirl Ana Kriegel.
In the Dáil this afternoon, Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger said the case marked “probably the most extreme example of sexual assault and misogyny the country has seen” and offered her condolences to the Kriegel family.
She noted that the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre recently declared a “public health epidemic of sexual violence” and warned that Ireland’s support services are severely underfunded.
She also said she believes there is still a culture of victim blaming within the Irish legal system.
Speaking under Dáil privilege, she said: “Is it any wonder we have reports of famous sports celebrities strutting around with impunity despite sexual assault allegations?” she said.
“Are women to go into hiding every time such a figure decides to go on a night out?”
The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said there is an “epidemic of gender-based violence in Ireland and indeed across the world” and insisted the Government is “doing quite a lot” in response to it.
He said funding for support services had increased by 20% and the Government was working to modernise Ireland’s laws and legal system.
Deputy Coppinger said there has been a “massive increase in calls” to rape crisis centres and warned that the increase in funding “goes no way to meeting the demand.”
“Your Government gave €25m to the entire support sector but yet you saw fit to give €17m to a cruel and ailing greyhound industry,” she said.
She said the government has “failed abysmally” in its response to the situation.