There is only one response to people being mean: shutting it all down and lashing out violently.
We live in a democracy, and under that sacred system, women have a guarantee that no one will ever hurt their feelings or make them feel bad in any way.
It’s our values. It’s who we are.
It is a sad day for democracy.
It is a sad day for democracy when a TD is forced to close their constituency office over security concerns, Chair of the Oireachtas Women’s caucus Senator Fiona O’Loughlin has said.
Reacting to the news that Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns has been forced to close her Bandon constituency office permanently due to security concerns, O’Loughlin said it was “very regrettable”.
Cairns, who has previously spoken publicly about the abuse that has been directed at her in person and on social media, said in a statement this week:
“Following a security review last summer in consultation with my team, a decision was made to close the office.
“This was after gardaí had advised me against holding constituency clinics, which I have publicly spoken about in the past. I do not wish expand any further on this issue.”
Earlier this year, the Oireachtas issued fresh security advice to politicians, urging them to consider a personal alarm and to avoid holding their constituency clinics alone.
The information was sent to all members of the Oireachtas just a week after a bag of excrement was thrown at Fianna Fáil Minister of State Anne Rabbitte and Fine Gael TD Ciarán Cannon while they attended a public meeting in Galway.
The leaflet entitled ‘Personal Security Advice for Elected Officials’, was drawn up by the National Crime Prevention Office.
The issue of security of female politicians has been discussed at the Oireachtas women’s caucus meetings, O’Loughlin said.
As a result of issues being raised, additional funding for security was provided for last year. Oireachtas members are now able to apply for a vouched reimbursement of 50% of their approved security costs, or a maximum of €5,000.
However, it is understood that to date, only a small number of Oireachtas members have applied for the funding.
“It’s not just about protecting ourselves, it is about protecting our staff too. Many have female staff who might be in the office, on their own,” said O’Loughlin.
The Fianna Fáil senator said the majority of female politicians have had to change the way they conduct constituency business.
“I think we’ve all changed the way that we do our business, both in terms of going to places on our own and being in the office on our own. I think most of us now have gone to people making appointments, as opposed to just drop in and it is all on the basis of threats, either implicit or on social media.
“It’s concerning and it is worrying and it’s interfering with people doing their business and it’s interfering with decent people who have cause to be able to go into a clinic.”
What has happened to our democracy?
Who will save it, if not a bunch of Indians?