Tuesday 21 November 2017

'Deplorable' - Mary Lou McDonald hits out at video shared online of woman with mental health issues being arrested

Dara Quigley tragically died by suicide last month
Dara Quigley tragically died by suicide last month

Kathy Armstrong

The publication of footage of a woman with mental health problems being arrested was "deplorable and revolting" the Dáil heard today.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald was speaking about distressing footage of journalist Dara Quigley which was uploaded to social media sites and widely shared.

Ms Quigley was arrested last month under the Mental Health Act after she was found walking naked walking through Dublin.

Footage of her arrest was shared on WhatsApp and Facebook, it was then viewed more than 100,000 times.

Tragically the well-known activist died by suicide several days later.

An investigation into the incident has been launched by the Garda Ombudsman and Sinn Fein TD McDonald highlighted it in the Dáil today.

Mary Lou McDonald
Mary Lou McDonald

She said: "I would like you to shed some light on the case of Dara Quigley, a young woman who died by suicide on April 12.

"She had been detained by gardaí some days previously under the Mental Health Act. She had been walking naked in a Dublin street when she was detained and garda CCTV footage of this detention was posted on Facebook.

"A really deplorable and revolting turn of events and something that has brought great hardship to her family and clearly brought very great distress to Dara.

"So we mark her passing and when we talk about garda culture and reform and accountability, I suppose this is the rawest end, the sharpest end of a deplorable culture of humiliation and disregard for human beings."

Deputy McDonald asked Justice Minister Fitzgerald about the probe, saying: "I hope also that you might shed some light on the accountability that will be held for the light of Dara Quigley."

The Tanaiste said she was "disturbed and horrified" by the footage being released and extended her sympathies to Dara's loved ones.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

She said: "Everyone would be totally disturbed and appalled by the story that has been reported in the media and actions are following on from that, as you know that has been reported.

"There is an investigation and a GSOC inquiry, but just to say of course our thoughts are with that young woman’s family given the appalling and very, very sad sequence of events."

A vigil for Dara will take place at Leinster House at 5.30pm on Friday.

  • If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article please contact Pieta House  on 1800 247 247 or Samaritans on 116 123

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