Men need to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with women at vigils in memory of Ashling Murphy to show their support for the need to stamp out violence against women, a Labour TD says.
The 23-year-old school teacher was attacked and killed on the banks of the canal in Tullamore on Wednesday.
Vigils are taking place across the country today in memory of Ashling.
The National Women’s Council is holding its #VigilForAshling outside the Dáil at 4pm, while another gathering is taking place in Tullamore.
Other events are planned for other cities across Ireland both today and over the weekend.
Dublin- #VigilforAshling, 4pm, Fri @ Dáil
Galway- 6pm, tonight @ Eyre Square
Limerick- 6pm, Fri @ Arthur's Quay Park
Cork- 9.30am, Sat @ the Atlantic Pond
Belfast- 4pm, Fri @ Belfast City Hall
Derry- 4pm, Fri @ Guildhall Steps
Tullamore-4pm, Friday @ Tullamore Town Park
— Womenscouncilireland (@NWCI) January 13, 2022
Labour TD Ivana Bacik is attending the Dublin event, and she told Newstalk Breakfast it's important women and men attend tonight's vigils.
She said: "We need men to stand up with us at the vigils.
"We need men to come and stand shoulder to shoulder with us, to express support for the need to stamp out violence against women.”
Deputy Bacik said she believes it's time to address the issue of 'everyday sexism'.
She said: “If I were minister, I think the first thing I would do now is to launch a huge public information and education campaign challenging gender stereotypes, and trying to tackle everyday sexism and the normalisation of violence against women."
She said important reforms are on the way in the criminal justice system, including the Government's new national strategy on sexual and domestic violence.
A 2020 report recommended a range of reforms around legal proceedings related to sexual assault offences, and Deputy Bacik has said the Government has promised to implement the measures,
For now, however, the Labour TD says there remains a "real problem" with gaps in the legal system - with not all victims having equal access to victim support services in court.
Safety of public spaces
Evelyn Mahon, Professor Emeritus with the school of sociology and social policy at Trinity College Dublin, believes a number of measures are needed to make women in Ireland feel safer.
She said: “I think we need to promote the safety of public spaces.
“At the moment, for those areas that are commonly used by women joggers, you need much more protection of those public spaces. You need extensive lighting and you do need CCTV cameras.
“In the promenade at Salthill, for instance, they’ve introduced a whole set of lighting - you just feel safer when places are well lit.”
Professor Mahon also believes more female police officers are needed to deal with cases of violence and harassment against women.
She said: “Only 27% of police are women. I have found in my interactions with police that women police are much more responsive to accusations of harassment - they understand the position more.
“I think it’s important that any incident of harassment or any incident where people are attacked in areas that are quiet are recorded by the police, so they can alert people of any areas that may be dangerous."