WEST Cork TD Holly Cairns has spoken about being stalked at her home in West Cork, and having to install security systems in a bid to make her feel safe.
The Social Democrat TD said that it started off with messages from anonymous online accounts, and different types of verbal and written abuse.
From the public commentary to private messages, to letters and then comments in person, the abuse built up over time, she said. ‘Maybe I didn’t realise how much it was building up,’ she told a podcast.
She said she had experienced a build-up of abuse over time, but it took a nasty turn when someone, who had started by sending messages to her work phone, turned up at her home ‘on several occasions’ and wouldn’t stop.
She said her behaviour changed when she began to think that every potential message sender could be someone who may arrive at her home.
Being from West Cork, she said, she was ‘absolutely terrified’ because she had no locks, or even a key for her door.
She went from not even having blinds at home to now having CCTV installed, she told the Virgin Media ‘Group Chat’ podcast this week.
The Cork South West TD told The Southern Star tonight that she decided to go public about her terrifying experience, having read the article in the Irish Times last weekend about Irish female politicians’ horrific experiences, but noted that not one of the women felt comfortable enough to go public and be named.
‘It was so obvious that no-one was willing to talk about it and the collective silence isn’t going to help,’ she said.
The Social Democrat was elected to Dail Eireann for the first time in 2020, having had a brief stint on Cork County Council. She has spoken out before, on a Southern Star podcast, about the inherent sexism in Irish politics and her experience as a councillor, but this is the first time she has spoken about being stalked at her home in West Cork.