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Varadkar says there is an ‘epidemic’ of violence against women

Ireland formally ratifies the Istanbul Convention, which aims to help prevent domestic violence.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the ratification of the Bill was an important step to combat violence against women (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the ratification of the Bill was an important step to combat violence against women (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the ratification of the Bill was an important step to combat violence against women (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said there is an epidemic of violence against women in Ireland.

His comments come as the country formally ratified the Istanbul Convention, which works towards preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

Following a special cabinet meeting to mark International Women’s Day, Mr Varadkar said the Government agreed on a number of measures to promote greater gender equality.

“There is an epidemic of violence against women, it needs to stop,” he added.

“We know the names of many of the women who have had violence perpetrated against them and the ratification of the Istanbul Convention today is a very important part of that.”

He added that the ratification of the Bill is an important step to combat violence against women.

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The Istanbul Convention was adopted by the Council of Europe in 2011.

It is an international legal instrument which requires governments to fully address the issue of violence against women, to protect women and to prosecute perpetrators.

Formal ratification took place at a ceremony at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on Friday morning, making Ireland the 34th Council of Europe Member State out of 47 to ratify the Convention.

Mr Varadkar was joined by a number of ministers at The Academy in Dublin for the event.

The Academy building was the location of a public meeting on September 5 1911, when the Irish Women Workers’ Union was founded. Constance Markievicz was among those to address the meeting.

Domestic and sexual violence can have devastating consequences for victims as well as society as a wholeCharlie Flanagan

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the Act puts the victim centre stage.

“Protecting and supporting victims has been a key priority for this Government. Domestic and sexual violence can have devastating consequences for victims as well as society as a whole,” he added.

“Ratifying the Convention delivers on a Government commitment and sends an important message that Ireland does not tolerate such violence.

“That message is all the more appropriate given that today is International Women’s Day.”

Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) Orla O’Connor said: “We are here today because of the campaigning from women’s groups, survivors and organisations campaigning to end violence against women.

“Today, it is important to give a special thank you to women who showed such bravery in speaking out about their experiences of domestic and sexual violence and abuse, and their experiences of being re-victimised in family and criminal courts.

“The Istanbul Convention prides the framework that we need to protect women and children and to work towards eliminating violence against women.”

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre also welcomed the ratification.

Its CEO Noeline Blackwell said: “Today’s ratification will be the end of the journey of preparation and the beginning of a journey of implementation of the steps required by the Convention, which is the first legally binding treaty identifying violence against women as both a human rights violation and as downright discrimination.

The Cabinet also agreed to the text of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill, which will require new employers of more than 250 employees to complete and publish a wage survey.

The Taoiseach said it would help reduce the pay gap that exists between men and women.


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