herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

'It's time for change' - hundreds protest at #IBelieveHer rally

Protesters at The Spire
Protesters at The Spire

Hundreds of protesters attended a rally in Dublin city centre yesterday to express solidarity with the woman at the centre of the Belfast rape trial.

Details of the event had been widely circulated on social media with many using the hashtag #IBelieveHer.

A large crowd gathered at The Spire in Dublin at 12.30pm.

Many demonstrators wanted to express solidarity not only with the woman at the centre of the case, but others too who have been affected by the issues raised during the distressing trial.

The rally lasted just over an hour and a heavy shower did not deter the protesters.

Anna Duke (22), from Blessington, Co Wicklow, told the Herald she wanted to show support for the woman at the centre of the case, and all women affected by it.

"It's time change is made," she said. "I think the turnout is amazing."

Also at the rally was Ken McCue (63), from Smithfield, who said he would like to see ethics and human rights courses for schoolchildren aged 12 upwards.

He teaches cultural planning, human rights and ethics and believes that such courses would help children to learn about respect.

"It should continue right through their schooling, especially the ones involved in sport," he said.

Dubliner Iseult Deane (21) said she thought the turnout was impressive.

"I think it's good to see so many young people out here. I think it's really powerful and good," she added.

A number of similar events were held across the country yesterday.

The four men who were on trial in the high-profile case were acquitted on Wednesday.

Rugby stars Paddy Jackson (26) and Stuart Olding (25) were found not guilty of raping a young student at a house party.

Spotlight

Mr Jackson was also found not guilty of sexually assaulting the then 19-year-old woman.

Blane McIlroy (26) was found not guilty of exposure, while Rory Harrison (25) was acquitted of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

In the aftermath of the case, the spotlight has fallen on how the legal system deals with people coming forward with allegations of rape.

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