A safe space for women has been created in Newbridge, County Kildare.
The safe space, based in the office of local Social Democrat Councillor Chris Pender, is open to any women who feel that they are being threatened or followed, or just want to wait somewhere safe.
Niamh Pender came up with the idea to combat violence against women and to offer somewhere safe in the town with heating as well as toilet facilities.
Niamh says it is a crucial time to provide women with a safe space.
"Following the news of the death of Aishling Murphy, me and Chris sat down and chatted to each other and I said that it would be a good idea for us to provide a service, more like a safe space for women and girls, because I know myself it can be a bit frightening sometimes on your own."
Ladies of Newbridge if you are ever afraid to be alone, need to wait for a lift, think someone might be following you, need to charge your phone to contact someone etc..
Call into Chris Penders office W12 PD35 we’re here most of the time. Chris’ number 0858298237@ChrisPenderKE
— Niamh Pender (@niamhpender_) January 13, 2022
Niamh says there is a real gap in the providing of these services for women.
"For myself anyway, the odd time when I'm in the town, it doesn't even have to be dark , sometimes you get a weird feeling, or you just need to charge your phone and call someone to pick you up - and I don't think you can do that in shops, you can't do that in a café. 90% of the time you go to a café and want to use any of their services you have to pay for something."
The facility is kitted out with period products, cereal bars, water, tissues, wipes and lots of different types of chargers if you want to charge your phone.
Niamh is present in the office herself and says a woman's presence is crucial for making others feel safe.
"The women of Newbridge have a real trust of Chris, but at the same time I understand what it is like to be intimidated by a man, for me to be here is important, just to offer the chance to chat to a woman."
Taken outside Leinster House at a vigil Aishling Murphy. Photograph: Tom Douglas
She went on to say that she is hoping other areas will follow suit, and the potential success of this idea in Newbridge could lead the way.
"In Dublin especially, the bigger cities as well like Galway and in Cork. I remember being in Galway and not feeling like I had that space. Considering Newbridge is a big shopping town, it's a good way to spread the message.
"I just hope other places take up the mentality, I think it's a good way to get people thinking and to get people in action."