In the wake of Ashling Murphy’s passing and heightened anxiety among women of all ages, Councillor Lisa McDonald has called for harsher sentencing for all those found guilty of crimes relating to domestic violence. Addressing Inspector Graham Rowley at the monthly meeting of the Rosslare Municipal District (RMD) Cllr McDonald asked if there was anything local gardaí could do to help women in Wexford feel safer.
“In consideration of the death of Ashling Murphy and the fear a lot of women, younger women, will have now of walking in areas, and the overspills into domestic violence and mental health issues, do we need to take a broader view on policing in the RMD In relation to the public realm, places where people walk, where they run, and recreate, is that on your agenda?” she asked. “I know this is a one-off situation but it has fuelled fears, we had a vigil in Murrintown and I was struck by the amount of older women in their 50s and 60s who have daughters in their twenties, late teens and how they were worried for them.
"Local gardaí are very good at dealing with some of the domestic violence and I’d imagine there’s been a rise in those cases since lockdown, but my overarching issue is we need more convictions, we need people to be brought to justice for the more minor misdemeanours so that the larger event won’t happen. I know it needs direction from government, no doubt the Minister for Justice needs to deliver more training in relation to domestic violence, but at the same time is there anything that can be done in the meantime to strengthen convictions and the presence on the ground?”
Aware of both Cllr McDonald’s concerns and the concerns of the wider public, Insp Rowley said four new members of An Garda Siochána would soon be appointed in Rosslare, Kilmore and Taghmon, adding that he and his teams were focused on protecting all within those communities and beyond.
“Community policing is to the fore of what we do every day. Without the community we won’t achieve anything, they are our eyes and ears,” he said. “They have to have confidence in us, and we are there to deal with anything that comes up. In terms of domestic violence it’s definitely a key priority for government and for our organisation that we deal with all incidents of domestic violence and deal with the cases in a very fast manner.”