Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.48 19 Apr 2021


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Two women have come together to campaign for a law that would criminalise stalking in its own right in Ireland.

Currently, any such criminal issue relating to stalking is dealt with under harassment legislation.

One of those woman, Una Ring from Cork, went through her own harrowing ordeal.

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She was subjected to a six month campaign of harassment, and a man was arrested following a Garda operation last June.

She told The Pat Kenny Show she believes GardaĆ­ saved her life.

"Stalking is not a crime in Ireland under any aspect - there is the law against harassment, but stalking is not a crime.

"Only for the Guards, the Guards were absolutely brilliant, and I do believe only for them at the very least I'd have been raped and at the very worst case scenario I would have been killed.

"I do feel I owe them my life, even if it had been rape my life would have been ruined.

"It's hard enough getting over what he did to me anyway, but thankfully the Guards stopped him from coming through my front door".

Una said Eve McDowell, the other woman involved in the campaign, reached out to her following a radio interview.

"It was after I had done a radio interview, she contacted them and she asked for my number.

"She called me and we were chatting away about what we had both been through - and we decided that something needs to be done.

"There was no information online, you don't know where to go, you don't know who to turn to."

'Feel like you're losing your mind'

She said they decided to set up a website to help people in a similar situation - and they also have the support of the Cork Sexual Violence Centre.

"Now if somebody has the bad luck to be going through what we went through they can click on this website, there's the help there, they can contact us.

"There's information on what stalking is - and just basically telling people that they're not losing their minds.

"You do feel like you're losing your mind and you do feel 'Am I imagining it?' and it's very distressing".

Una added that others can have difficulty understanding exactly what is happening.

"I wouldn't say it's a taboo subject, but people don't know how to react when you tell them you're being stalked - or you think you're being stalked.

"There is no crime of stalking, but even just trying to explain to somebody how you're feeling - you really do need to go through it to know the level of fear.

"When you're lying in bed at night and you're waiting for somebody to break into your home and rape you, it's an awful situation to be in.

"So unless you've been through it, it's very very hard for people to understand it".

And Una said she has no regrets about going public.

"Why shouldn't I go public? I didn't do anything wrong - why should I hide away from it when I did nothing wrong, I just worked with the man.

"That's another thing that people would be asking me 'Why did you go public?' - why shouldn't I?

"If there's any other crime people know about it, and why should this be hidden away in a little box that nobody talks about.

"You shouldn't be ashamed of somebody else's behaviour".

More information can be found on stalking.ie. In an emergency, call 999 or 112.

Main image: A woman holding a phone in front of a window in Germany in 2016. Picture by: Angelika Warmuth/DPA/PA Images

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Crime Eve McDowell Harassment Legislation Ireland Stalking Una Ring

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