Leo Varadkar: "We need to end the epidemic of violence against women" 11 months ago

Leo Varadkar: "We need to end the epidemic of violence against women"

The Taoiseach oversaw a special government meeting on International Women's Day.

Leo Varadkar has called for an end to the "epidemic" of violence against women following a special government meeting held to mark International Women's Day.

Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan announced on Friday (8 March) that the Istanbul Convention, which aims to prevent and combat domestic violence and violence against women, had been ratified.

The government originally signed the convention in November of 2015. Friday's ratification arrives following the ironing out of legislation and other associated elements.

"We need to end the epidemic of violence against women," said Varadkar.

He also revealed that the government has agreed terms on a new law aimed at solving gender pay disparity in Ireland.

"Women earn 14% less than men here," the Taoiseach said. "That's got to change."

Amnesty International Ireland hailed "an important day for women" while calling on the government to deliver in their actions going forward.

“2018 was an historic year for women’s rights in Ireland, with the removal of the constitutional ban on abortion and new law providing for abortion access," said Fiona Crowley, Research and Legal Manager for Amnesty International Ireland.

"It is fitting to be marking International Women’s Day this year with the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, which we hope will have a real impact on the lives of women in Ireland.  We also hope this move inspires other European countries, and the EU, to do the same.

“But for the Convention to be effective, ratification must be accompanied by real, practical steps by the Irish government.

"Women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence must be able to access support services, hotlines, medical services, counselling and legal aid. The government must also ensure enough resources for NGOs that provide these vital services.”

The National Women's Council of Ireland offered a similar sentiment, noting that, "There is no more excuses for inaction - time to end violence against women."