Patrick Costello TD:
The public is looking to all of us in this House to show leadership on the issue of gender-based violence. One of our roles as legislators is to ensure that the laws we have provide effective protection. The Minister for Justice has spoken in the past of making strangulation a stand-alone offence. Strangulation is a common and often fatal feature of domestic violence. Similarly, the Law Reform Commission has recommended making stalking a stand-alone offence. That is something that the Minister for Justice has said that she is open to and exploring. When will we see legislation on these two areas brought to the House in order that the legislation on the Statute Book can contribute to the protection of women and to the sea change that we need and that the Taoiseach called for this morning?
The suggestions to provide legislation to create offences in respect of both of those merit the most serious consideration. Again, I will engage with the Minister for Justice. These are issues that might be pursued through the relevant Oireachtas committee in some detail because they are very important issues in respect of that wider debate. We should have a wide-ranging legislative provision to ensure there are no escape routes or hiding places for people who engage in such violence.