Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
This is a really serious issue and one in which I have a personal interest. In recent weeks, I read that more women were killed violently by men they knew - there have been more cases of femicide - than there are people killed as a result of drug-related murders, which is extraordinary and indicates how common murders of women by men who know them are in this country.
I reject the Deputy's suggestion that the Government does not care. The Government has ratified the Istanbul convention on domestic violence. We have provided an extra €5 million a year in funding for domestic violence services since the Minister, Deputy Zappone, took charge of her Department. The Government will preside over the opening of new women's refuges in Rathcoole and, I think, in Carlow and Galway in the coming months. Action is being taken. I absolutely agree that we need to have an educational campaign on the issue. That has been discussed at a Cabinet sub-committee. We have also introduced changes in the law, assisted by Deputy Coppinger and others, to define consent better, for example, and to introduce a prohibition of coercive control. This is very much on the Government's agenda and will be a specific topic for the Citizens' Assembly when it starts its hearings on gender in the coming weeks. A special meeting would be a very good idea, but it is, as the Deputy knows, a matter for the Business Committee, of which I think Deputy Coppinger is a member and I am not.