“Ireland is a very scary place to be a young woman,” one woman has said as the nation marks the first anniversary of the death of Ashling Murphy.
The primary school teacher was attacked and killed while out for a run along a busy canal in Tullamore, Offaly on 12th January last year.
In the months since, Justice Minister Helen McEntee promised the Government would take a “zero tolerance” approach towards violence against women.
“And I think what’s different this time… I think every person has pictured Ashling as someone they know,” she told Newstalk at the time.
One year on and Lunchtime Live listener, Róisín, said that she does not believe much has changed since 2022.
“As a young woman, we’re always seeing things on social media and on the news about violence against women,” she said.
“Really, violence against women is an epidemic and I think the Government response has been so slow to it.
“I don’t think there have been any real protections.
“There have been very small steps over the past year - very small ones in terms of pushing legislation along to make women feel more protected.”
She noted that she and her friends still do things to minimise risk when they are out and about - such as calling people with their location or carrying keys between their fingers
“I think Ireland is a very scary place to be a young woman,” Róisín continued.
“I think last year, this big conversation started on violence against women but we don’t need more conversations, we need real action.”
For many men that might seem like an overly cautious attitude to personal safety; however, Newstalk reporter Mairéad Clearly told the show that it is the norm for young women in 2023.
“I didn’t think it was unusual until I was having a chat in the newsroom here in Newstalk about it,” she said.
“I live with two other women, we’re all in our early to mid-20s and we all run, we all walk and we actually naturally all stop doing that in the winter.
"We all stop going out - all three of us - like we usually do from about April to September, mid-October maybe.
“All three of us have a gym membership now and I probably won’t renew it once the evenings get longer.”
Mairéad said women often take these precautions sub-consciously.
“You make these adjustments and they actually become so part of normal life, it’s when you actually talk about the reason why you’re making those decisions - that’s when the dark truth shows its head,” she said.
Last week, acting Justice Minister Simon Harris promised a “major” piece of legislation to tackle domestic violence; the bill will increase sentences and make stalking and strangulation a standalone criminal offence.
“We are absolutely determined to see zero tolerance in Ireland towards these crimes and offences", he said.
"This involves all parts of society, all parts of government playing its parts.”
"These are concrete actions I can and will take in the legislative space in the coming weeks."
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Main image: Candles lit by members of a crowd outside Dáil Éireann in memory of Ashling Murphy. Picture by: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie