TD calls for Ireland to follow Britain’s example and introduce domestic violence register
Master of Holles Street Rhona Mahony cites consistent lack of investment in women and children since foundation of the State
Dr Rhona Mahony: Urgent need for further investment in Ireland’s maternity services. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins
A call has been made for a domestic violence register to be introduced that would allow people find out from gardaí if their partner has a history of violence.
Chairman of the Oireachtas justice committee David Stanton made the call following the roll-out of a similar scheme across England and Wales.
In Britain the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is known as Clare’s Law, after 36-year-old Clare Wood, who was murdered five years ago by her ex-boyfriend.
The scheme was unveiled on Saturday, International Women’s day. The Fine Gael TD said in a statement: “We need to do much more to protect victims of domestic violence, and the introduction of such a scheme would be an important step.” He said a woman could find out about her partner before getting involved in a relationship.
In the past fortnight the committee has been addressed by more than 20 groups and individuals about domestic violence. Mr Stanton said one witness talked about how some men “groom” women in a way that they become dependent on them and enthralled, and then “the gloves literally come off”.
A report on the hearings will be completed next month.
Meanwhile, the Master of National Maternity Hospital has said there is an urgent need for further investment in Ireland’s maternity services.
Rhona Mahony also said that “if we are serious about improving society in Ireland we must be very serious about education” as a “lack of education contributes to increased health inequalities by perpetuating cycles of intergenerational and socioeconomic disadvantage”.
Past and future
Speaking at an event in Dublin on Friday hosted by the charity An Cosán to mark International Women’s Day, she said: “We spend a lot of time deliberating over the past in Ireland. It is much more comfortable to judge past events than it is to determine future ones. Easier to have a strong opinion when the outcome is known than it is to put your head above the parapet and lay yourself on the line for something in the future.”
Dr Mahony said that in order “to level the pitch of opportunity” in Ireland “we need to invest a great deal more resource and expertise into maternity services in Ireland as a matter of urgency. There has been a consistent lack of investment in women and children since the foundation of the Free State.
“We have created and hidden behind an image of Mother Ireland but the reality has been far from this. The result has been the series of painful truths we have had to confront in Ireland in recent years.”