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Yesterday — November 15th 2018Party

#ThisIsNotConsent: Victim-blaming in rape trial provokes mass anger

By Eddie McCabe

By Socialist Party reporter

“Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone? You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”

These comments from defence barrister Elizabeth O’Connell in a Cork rape trial have sparked outrage throughout the island of Ireland and internationally. Made about a 17-year-old woman, and without any objection from the judge, the remarks were a clear example of victim-blaming and rape myths being used in open court. This is in a state where the majority of rapes and sexual assault are unreported, and only 10% of reports end in a conviction.

Protests across Ireland

Under the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent, women have been posting photos of their underwear. Angry protests have now taken place in cities across Ireland at very short notice and during work hours. In Cork, 500 marched to the courthouse where the comments were made, many leaving underwear on the steps and railings of the building. 500 also protested in central Dublin, 250 in Belfast, 50 in Limerick and 40 in Galway. Most of these protests were called on the initiative of ROSA – the Socialist Feminist Movement, of which the Socialist Party is a central part.

This explosion of anger reflects the fact that, increasingly, women and young people are not willing to accept victim-blaming and misogyny in society. In March/April this year, thousands took to the streets after the acquittals of Ulster rugby players in a rape trial in Belfast where similar victim-blaming tactics were used. Huge numbers got active in the referendum campaign to achieve repeal and abortion rights.

Two weeks ago, Google workers in Dublin walked out of work as part of a global action against sexual harassment. The latter example shows the potential for workers to get organised in their workplaces against such manifestations of sexism, an issue that the trade union movement must take up in a serious way.

Thong in the Dáil

Solidarity TD and Socialist Party member Ruth Coppinger reflected the mood when she questioned Leo Varadkar in the Dáil, demanding action from the government on victim-blaming in the courts and holding up a thong in the chamber. This is probably a first in Dáil history, and cameras quickly panned away from the “offending item”. However, as Ruth pointed out, if this is incongruous in the national parliament, it’s even more so for underwear to be used in a court as evidence against a woman.

Ruth’s bold intervention has garnered huge attention from the national media, along with the protests that have taken place. Significantly, it has also gotten coverage in media outlets in countries as diverse as New Zealand, Australia, India, Turkey, Canada, the US (including the New York Times, Newsweek and CNN) and in many countries across Europe.

International Women’s Day walkouts

There is potential for a new movement around the issue of victim-blaming and gender-based violence. ROSA are calling for mass protests and walkouts on International Women’s Day 2019, drawing inspiration from the Spanish example, where a ‘feminist strike’ brought millions out of work and onto the streets this year.

This movement must absolutely demand and fight for changes such as compulsory training for judges and juries in cases of sexual violence and education about consent in schools. However, the case in Cork is not an isolated example.  Victim-blaming and misogyny are endemic in the court system, the state and in society generally under a capitalist system which has sexism and inequality at its core. We need to build a movement of women, young and LGBTQ people and all sections of the working class around an anti-capitalist and socialist-feminist programme which challenges this system and all the injustices it perpetuates.

The post #ThisIsNotConsent: Victim-blaming in rape trial provokes mass anger appeared first on Socialist Party (Ireland).

Remain vote in the North "must be respected" - Mary Lou McDonald TD

Speaking this evening regarding Brexit, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has said: "Today has been a calamitous day in Westminster.  “The arguments being played out in the Tory party about Brexit are ones which citizens on the island of Ireland will pay a high price for generations, if a suitable deal is not…
  • November 15th 2018 at 17:48

Flags should never be used to intimidate or harass - Duffy

Sinn Féin spokesperson Joe Duffy said: “Sinn Féin is not aware of any petition in Thaxton Village in Lisburn on the issue of flags.
  • November 15th 2018 at 17:28

Sinn Féin hosts delegation from the north to meet with Minister on All-Ireland access to abortion

Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon and Louise O’Reilly TD this evening hosted a delegation of campaign groups and service providers to meet with Minister for Health Simon Harris on All-Ireland access to abortion. Megan Fearon MLA said: “This evening myself and my colleague and Sinn Féin health spokesperson in the south, Louise O’Reilly TD, hosted…
  • November 15th 2018 at 17:16

'Social workers play a valuable role in society' - Flynn

Sinn Féin MLA Órlaithí Flynn said social workers play an important role in addressing the needs of those with mental health and learning disabilities. The party’s spokesperson for Mental Health was speaking after taking part in a Professional Forum event organised by BASW on issues facing Social Workers in addressing mental health and learning disability issues.
  • November 15th 2018 at 16:09

Lynn Boylan MEP calls on Irish Government to protect its people from Lyme disease

Sinn Fein MEP, Lynn Boylan has welcomed today’s European Parliament vote calling for better diagnosis and treatment for Lyme disease and has called on the HSE and the National Parks and Wildlife Services to roll out a Tick Aware campaign. The Dublin MEP said: “Lyme Disease, a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks, is spreading geographically as…
  • November 15th 2018 at 15:25

Department must proceed with A5

Sinn Féin MP Órfhlaith Begley has called on the Department of Infrastructure to proceed on the construction on the A5 road. The West Tyrone MP was commenting after the Department decided not to contest a legal challenge which set out to halt construction.
  • November 15th 2018 at 15:22

‘Belfast Trust lack transparency over Muckamore’ - Gildernew

Sinn Féin spokesperson for carers Colm Gildernew has accused the Belfast Health Trust of a lack of transparency over its response to allegations of abuse of vulnerable adults at Muckamore Abbey Hospital.
  • November 15th 2018 at 15:19

Minister must face down insurance companies – Senator Rose Conway-Walsh

Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has told the Minister with responsibility for insurance Michael D'Arcy that many people, who have been hammered by high insurance premiums in recent years, will find it hard to stomach that insurance companies have refused his request that they inform policy holders when a claim has been made against them. Addressing the…
  • November 15th 2018 at 15:07

Mary Lou McDonald statement on resignation of Peadar Tóibín

Speaking today following the resignation of Peadar Tóibín, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said: “It is with regret that I have learned of the resignation of Peadar Tóibin from Sinn Féin. "Peadar was a valued member of the party. "Sinn Féin is home to a diversity of views; we debate and our members vote…
  • November 15th 2018 at 14:08

Carthy insists Bolsonaro’s election must be final nail in EU-Mercosur coffin

Carthy insists Bolsonaro’s election must be final nail in EU-Mercosur coffin Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has insisted the election of Bolsonaro in Brazil must be the final nail in coffin for the EU-Mercosur Trade Deal. Speaking from Strasbourg this week, Carthy stated: "The far right militarist Jair Bolsonaro has…
  • November 15th 2018 at 13:57

Party leaders meet Taoiseach on Brexit deal

Speaking after meeting the Taoiseach and Tanáiste in Dublin this morning along with leaders of the SDLP, the Alliance and the Green parties Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill said:
  • November 15th 2018 at 13:14

Mullan encourages submissions to youth funding consultation

Sinn Féin education spokesperson Karen Mullan MLA has urged stakeholders to participate in and make submissions to the Education Authority’s consultation on youth funding.
  • November 15th 2018 at 12:14

Louise O’Reilly TD challenges government on homeless crisis in Fingal

Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin TD for Fingal Deputy Louise O’Reilly challenged the Minister for Housing over the homeless crisis in Fingal and the lack of an effective government response for victims of domestic violence. Teachta O’Reilly said:   “ There are a significant number of people entering homelessness in Fingal and ending up…
  • November 15th 2018 at 10:29

Regulation of junk food marketing is key to tackling obesity crisis – Denise Mitchell TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Denise Mitchell TD has called for stricter regulations when it comes to broadcast and non-traditional media in order to prevent children being targeted by junk food marketers. Speaking following the publication of a ‘The Report on Tackling Childhood Obesity’ by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and…
  • November 15th 2018 at 10:25

Sinn Féin seek legislative change to tackle victim blaming in Courts - Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin will be tabling amendments to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences Bill) to tackle the use of victim blaming strategies in the courts. The Bill is due to come before the Justice Committee in the coming weeks. Speaking today, Justice Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD said; "The story that emerged from the recent court…
  • November 15th 2018 at 08:38
Before yesterdayParty

The Irish Arms policy is accommodating authoritarian regimes - Lynn Boylan MEP

In light of today's vote in Strasbourg on Arms Exports, Sinn Féin's Lynn Boylan MEP, has called on the Irish Government to radically revise its arms policy. Ms Boylan, MEP for Dublin, said: "I welcome the Parliament’s vote today, which calls on Member States to report licences granted for arms exports and sets minimum criteria for export controls.…
  • November 14th 2018 at 21:30

Maurice McCabe and the rot inside the state

By Eddie McCabe

By James McCabe

Whistleblower Maurice McCabe’s efforts to expose corruption in the local Garda force in Cavan was met with vicious reprisals from the national leadership of An Garda Síochána.

Misconduct and corruption are nothing new for the police force of this state, but even so, many were shocked to discover that the top echelons of the Gardaí conducted a widespread smear campaign of false accusations of child sexual abuse against McCabe. The findings of the Disclosures Tribunal, released in October, vindicated McCabe and heavily criticised the former Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan.

Wall of silence

Evidence was presented that Callinan had told at least four people, including RTE’s Philip Boucher-Hayes, that McCabe was a sex-abuser. The tribunal was met with a wall of silence from the ranks of the Gardaí, however. The tribunal sent letters to 430 individuals of different ranks to gather evidence and received only two replies.

Many pundits in the media have spoken about how justice has been served by this Tribunal and that it will work to “restore faith in the Gardaí”. There’s a constant rewriting of history by the corporate and state sponsored media in Ireland. In the mid-1970s, Amnesty International demanded an independent inquiry into sections of the Gardaí due to the regular use of beatings and torture methods by members of the force to extract confessions from suspects.

In recent years, we’ve seen a litany of Garda scandals, from the spying on water protestors through Operation Mizen, the bugging of GSOC, the secret taping of phone calls between arrested persons and their solicitors and of course the Jobstown frame-up. Apart from the scandals and corruption, the establishment would have us believe that the Gardaí and other state institutions, despite their defects, generally exist and act to serve the best interests of the public and “stand above” politics.

Role of Gardaí

The mask of political and class neutrality slipped in Frederick Street, Dublin back in September. Here we witnessed masked Gardaí protecting balaclava-wearing private security guards as they forcibly removed peaceful protestors occupying a vacant apartment which was owned by a major landlord who owns over forty commercial properties.

The police watched on as the injured housing activists were dragged out of the property by the private security, who left in a van which had been illegally parked and had no tax or insurance certs displayed on it. This example highlights the reality that in the last analysis, the Gardaí, the courts, the judges and the unaccountable, highly-paid top civil servants of this state all represent the interests of the capitalist system.

Political policing

To much fanfare, the media have trumpeted the Disclosures Tribunal’s view that former Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, apparently had nothing to do with the smear campaign against McCabe.  O’Sullivan has been absolved on this issue, but her tenure as Garda Commissioner was anything but a model of political and economic impartiality. O’Sullivan is alleged to have asked an interviewee for the position of Deputy Commissioner in 2015 as to their opinion on “left-wing political extremism in Ireland.”

The major problem with the Gardaí isn’t confined to a bad ‘management culture’ or certain immoral individuals in the leadership. In many ways these problems stem from the fact that the Gardaí are a force that exist to defend the super-rich and corporations. To transform the role of policing, we must fight for the creation of a community-controlled policing organisation that is genuinely run, controlled and accountable to working-class communities.

The post Maurice McCabe and the rot inside the state appeared first on Socialist Party (Ireland).

Proposal for a North Inner City Authority must deliver a safe, sustainable, vibrant and hopeful community - Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Dublin Central TD Mary Lou McDonald today warned that the limited ambition and scope of the Dublin North Inner City Authority proposed by Fianna Fáil could result in the delivery of another under-performing state quango that fails to deliver for the long term.   Speaking in the Dáil the Sinn Féin leader said:…
  • November 14th 2018 at 17:46

Anderson meets EU Ombudsman over Brexit rights concerns

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the rights of the people of the north must not be sacrificed to the Tory Brexit agenda.
  • November 14th 2018 at 17:41