National Women's Council of Ireland support and solidarity to the young woman at the centre of the Listowel sexual assault case
18 Dec 2009
The National Women's Council of Ireland welcomes the news that Father Sean Sheehy has offered to withdraw from his parish - but insists that he must not be reassigned to any other parish, in Ireland or elsewhere. "The Catholic church has a bad record on this," said Susan McKay, director of the NWCI. "The attitudes to women and to sexual violence implied by this priest are simply unacceptable."
The Women's Council conveyed its wholehearted support and solidarity to the young woman at the centre of the Listowel sexual assault case. "This woman was the victim of a brutal sexual assault by Danny Foley, and it is intolerable that she then had to suffer the insulting and outrageous behaviour of those who queued to show solidarity with him after his conviction," said McKay.
“Father Sheehy said this was a man who respected women. What sort of respect is that? What kind of people are these? Do they not have sisters, wives, mothers, women friends?" demanded McKay. "This man used extreme violence against his victim, then lied about what he had done, forced her to go through a court case and denigrated her in his evidence. She was brave to bring her case, and brave to see it through. She deserves our respect and gratitude."
The NWCI said that scenes such as were witnessed in this Kerry courtroom had no place in a civilised society, and must never be allowed to happen again. It applauded the statement from the Bishop of Kerry dissociating the Catholic Church from the stance taken by Father Sheehy.
"We are glad that the young woman has the support of the Kerry Rape Crisis Centre, and know they will show her the respect which others have so shockingly denied her," said McKay.