Target: Tom Barry, Irish lawmaker
Goal: Condemn Irish lawmaker for sexually harassing coworker during abortion debate
During a debate in Irish parliament for landmark abortion legislation, Irish lawmaker Tom Barry was seen to grab fellow lawmaker Aine Collins and pull her into his lap. They struggled for a bit, until he ultimately released her and she walked away, disgusted. Barry had been drinking at the parliament bar, but insists he was not drunk as if that would mollify the situation.
Abortion is illegal in Ireland, a devoutly Catholic country. Women who seek an abortion could face up to 14 years in prison for the offense. This legislation was a vital step towards women’s equality in Ireland, allowing abortions for women whose lives are in danger from the pregnancy. Barry’s behavior is an insult to women everywhere, and evidence of just how far Ireland still has to come in terms of respect and equality for women.
Adding insult to injury, his comments after the incident was brought to light simply masqueraded as a weak apology. He said he was “very upset that it is being described as [sexist]” and that he “didn’t intend to offend anyone,” joining the hundreds of politicians before him in implying that lack of malicious intent, however ill-informed, insensitive, and downright predatory your actions may be, removes all guilt and responsibility. He chalked his actions up to “stupidity, naivety, and inexperience.” Exactly how a married, 44-year-old father of three in Irish Parliament is “inexperienced and naïve” he did not explain.
Barry’s behavior was insulting, predatory, and humiliating to the Irish people. Please sign this petition to condemn him for publicly harassing his female colleague, especially during such a charged and vital debate.
Dear Tom Barry,
Your behavior towards your colleague Aine Collins was predatory and vile. You pulled her into your lap, sexually harassing her and taking control of her body in a public space.
You’ve made it clear that in Ireland, a woman is never in control of her body. Not during an unwanted pregnancy, not during work hours, and not as an Irish public figure in full view of her friends and colleagues. Shame on you and shame on your nation’s sexist and abusive policies.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jezebel