Leading article

Leading article: Courts must protect women

Patrycja Wyrebek was murdered at the Newry home she shared with her partner in August 2020.

It is impossible to ignore the wider significance of the separate cases which came before our courts in the space of 24 hours last week involving the cruel murders of Emma Jane McParland, Patrycja Wyrebek and Jennifer Dornan.

All three were entirely innocent women, killed in their own homes across Belfast and Co Down, where they should have expected to be safe, by vicious and aggressive men.

Ms McParland (39) at her south Belfast flat by her son, Jordan Kennedy (23), who plainly suffered from mental health issues at the stage when he stabbed her in April, 2020.

It will be noted that Ms Wyrebek (20) had reported her partner, Dawid Lukasz Mietus (25) to the authorities long before he assaulted and strangled her at the Newry home shared by the couple, originally from Poland, in August, 2020.

The longest term for the three appalling offences was given to Raymond O'Neill (44), whose 22-year tariff was not handed down until almost seven years after he murdered Ms Dornan (30) in August, 2015.

Emma Jane McParland was stabbed to death by her son Jordan Kennedy in April 2020 at her south Belfast apartment.

O'Neill made concerted attempts to avoid being brought to justice, and, while he is appealing his conviction, there will be a strong sense that he should never be released until it can be established that he is no longer a threat to women.

Her name was Clodagh - she was a victim, her killer was not

The appeal from police for anyone who feels trapped in an abusive relationship to come forward is an important one and deserves to be respected on all sides.

Official statistics from both the north and south of Ireland indicate that violence against women remains at a disturbingly high level and has increased throughout the period of the pandemic.

The courts have a duty to respond but it is the attitude of a minority of men which must change without delay.

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The death of the chairman of The Irish News, Jim Fitzpatrick, is primarily an enormous loss for his family but every section of our society is the weaker for his passing.

His enduring, committed and entirely selfless contribution to the search for peace and reconciliation made Ireland a better place for all its citizens, regardless of their political and religious affiliations.

The tributes we carry today are fully merited and set out the details of a life well lived.

He was a truly remarkable person and he will be sadly missed by his relatives, friends, colleagues and every reader of this newspaper.

The late Irish News chairman Jim Fitzpatrick

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