The family of journalist and activist Dara Quigley, who died by suicide in April 2017 after intimate images of her were widely shared online, say they are still "battling the State" to find out key events preceding her death.
The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) completed its report on alleged online abuse by a Garda in the case, and submitted it to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris in July.
A spokeswoman said Gsoc could not share the report with Ms Quigley’s family until an internal disciplinary process was completed by gardaí. And until then Ms Quigley’s inquest cannot begin.
Images of Ms Quigley (36) walking naked on a Dublin street were posted on social media by a member of An Garda Síochána and viewed more than 100,000 times.
"Dara became aware of the disclosure of the footage while...in rural Tipperary, " her mother Aileen Malone said on Wednesday. "She was so distressed she took her own life."
Ms Malone was speaking after the Oireachtas Committee on Justice concluded four weeks of hearings on online harassment and abuse, at which her daughter's experience was cited as "one of the most egregious" examples of the impact of online sexual abuse on a person.
She said her family learned of the footage, gleaned from Garda CCTV cameras, three days after her daughter’s death.
“It was like the ground being cut from underneath us...It took us weeks to even understand what had happened. You think something has happened, that this is the reality and then there is this this thing that comes in and then you realise thousands and thousands of people knew about this. It felt like we had been laid bare and exposed.”
The impact had been “devastating” for the family and “even now it is still hard to actually think of the distress she must have suffered. She was already extremely vulnerable and then for this to happen. She must have been tormented. It’s terrible to think of your daughter dying like that, alone. I can’t go there,” said Ms Malone.
The family has “no idea” what is in the Gsoc report and has “no clear timelines” on when they will know.
“It’s 2½ years since Dara died...It just seems incredible that it’s taking so long... We’re having to wait so long for the basic facts around Dara’s death to be disclosed and that we are actually having to fight the State and fight the authorities to get this kind of information.”
The family has been refused free legal aid for the inquest, she added, which will take place in Templemore, Co Tipperary.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties, in its submission to the committee, said image-based sexual abuse should be specifically named as a crime and victims should have access to civil remedies including restitution and compensation.
The council also warned against a growth in statutory surveillance, including the widespread installation of CCTV cameras which it suggested could impact on people’s rights to meet who they wanted in places where they wanted. The apparent gain in civic safety was insufficient when compared to the cost to people’s civil liberties.
The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre said sharing private, intimate images online should be regarded as a "communication" and that communication, if abusive, should be named as a crime.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised, you can contact:
Samaritans: freephone 116123, text 087-260 9090
Pieta House: freephone 1800-247247, or text HELP to 51444
Aware: freephone 1800-804848