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13th Nov 2018

TD Ruth Coppinger holds up underwear in the Dáil to highlight how rape cases are handled

Carl Kinsella

Ruth Coppinger

Ruth Coppinger held up a pair of underwear in the Dáil on Tuesday afternoon to attack the “rape myths” that are put before juries in Irish rape cases.

Coppinger was putting questions to the Taoiseach on how Irish courts approach sexual assault cases, and whether certain prosecutorial practices are appropriate.

Her comments follow a recent high-profile rape case where a complainant’s underwear was examined by the jury.

Coppinger, who is a Solidarity TD for Dublin West, has frequently been vocal on the issue of consent, and the need for Ireland’s court system to improve its handling of sex crimes.

In a tweet, Coppinger explained her point further — and put the word out for a lunchtime protest tomorrow (14 November): “I hear cameras cut away from me when I displayed this underwear in . In courts victims can have their underwear passed around as evidence and it’s within the rules, hence need to display in Dáil. Join protests tomorrow. In Dublin it’s at Spire, 1pm.”

However, Coppinger was not pleased with the hearing she got from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, saying: “Unfortunate the Taoiseach didn’t answer about the set of things I outlined that needs to be done.”

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