Limerick court protest over ROSA Covid fine case

A SOCIALIST feminist movement is to stage a protest outside Limerick District Court this morning, calling for charges to be dropped against one of its members who refused to pay a fine for attending a protest during Covid lockdown restrictions last year.

Aislinn O’Keeffe, a member of ROSA Limerick, participated with others last March in a small protest against gender-based violence, following the kidnap, rape, and murder of 33-year old marketing executive Sarah Everard by London Metropolitan police officer, Wayne Couzens.

Ms O’Keeffe has said the charges are an insult to victims.

The March 2021 protest in Limerick City took place during Level 5 lockdown restrictions when it was an offence to attend indoor or outdoor gatherings.

ROSA said it organised the protest to call for emergency action to tackle violence against women.

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Throughout the pandemic it has been reported that domestic violence incidents increased as people’s movements were restricted.

Refusing to pay the €500 fine, Ms O’Keeffe said she felt she had to fight for her right to speak about gender violence and that, in her opinion, the outdoor protest was socially distanced and safe.

Former TD Ruth Coppinger, who is a member of ROSA, said the fine issued against Ms O’Keeffe should be dropped.

Mick Barry, a People Before Profit/Solidarity TD, is due to participate in this morning’s court protest in support of Ms O’Keeffe.

In a statement released last night, a spokesperson for ROSA pointed out that it was the first known charge of its kind under Covid health regulations

“Aislinn O’Keeffe of ROSA, faces prosecution over a safe, outdoor protest highlighting gender violence during the pandemic. She is due in court at 10:30am on Friday and supporters will gather outside from 10am demanding that the charges are dropped,” the statement added.