Change comes in May

Thanks as ever to Headstuff for publishing my personal journey to pro-choice campaigning. The sense of community and commonality that came after the referendum will stay with me, I think, forever.

Change_Comes_In_May___May_26th_2018_-_HeadStuff.pngMay is my favourite month. The days stretch out improbably and the skies clear and you can just believe that perhaps the sun might shine for the whole summer long. It’s all promise and opportunity, and if it rains you can still call it spring and cling to the possibility of a real summer to come. Lucy and I cycle along the canal from Rialto to Clondalkin, trying not to inhale the low clouds of midges hanging on the water. We squeeze through kissing gates erected to prevent quad bikes from tearing up and down the tow paths, elder flower dusting the air and swans huddling clannishly against early evening drinkers. This strange environment hums with insects and immense factories, for Dublin 12 is an industrial zone made up of motorways, housing estates, and retail parks.

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Violence against women is a poorly understood issue for migrants in Ireland

An article I wrote for October’s edition of Metro Eireann.

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We know very little about the violence experienced in the lives of migrant women living in Ireland. The last comprehensive Irish study on sexual violence, the SAVI report, was conducted in 2002, at a time when migrants and ethnic minorities were not even listed among marginalised groups….

I am carrying out research to describe the experiences of African women living in Ireland who have been affected by VAW. Many women have told me that in spite of the challenges, they feel protected by the laws in Ireland, and they feel more trust in the police and the judiciary here than in their countries of origin. Nonetheless, Irish legislation on VAW is not as strong as in many other countries, and just 1% to 6% of domestic abusers ever receive a prison sentence. While some African women feel a greater sense of freedom in Ireland than they did in other countries, there is much still to be done, for everybody affected by VAW, not only for migrants.

If you have a personal experience to share, I would like to interview you for my research. You can text me at 086 6045546 with the word Yes, and I will call you back straight away.

For a readable PDF of the article, link here: Metro Eireann VAW

Funding for domestic and sexual abuse services inadequate

An article I co-wrote for the Irish Examiner

The demand is huge and growing, a result of both high levels of violence and increased awareness. In 2015, 9,172 women and 3,383 children received support from a domestic violence service, and, in 2014, 18,926 calls were made to Rape Crisis Centre helplines, while 1,913 people participated in counselling and support.

These people represent a minority of survivors: Most people who experience gender-based violence do not report it. Widespread availability of support services would reduce not only untold suffering for survivors, but also for their children.

New Communities Partnership Conference: Child protection & migration in Ireland


Migrant families in Ireland are ten times more likely to find themselves subject to child protection interventions than are Irish families. I attended the conference of NCP, and wrote about some of the complexities involved in this situation. While cultural differences are crucial, other issues are equally important, particularly the impact of Direct Provision on individuals and families; domestic violence; and social exclusion across Irish society.

My article for Headstuff is here:


Violence against women and criminal justice


My reflections on a common thread at the recent Safe Ireland Summit on Domestic Violence. Once we’re agreed that violence against women is a matter for public concern and public action, what’s the best way of framing it, and what are the limitations of the criminal justice response?