UFC Fighter Cathal Pendred is fronting SAFE Ireland’s MAN UP campaign this year with a call out to all men to use their common power to stand up against domestic violence. MAN UP focuses on the positive role that men play in ending domestic violence, in challenging abuse and supporting women and children. At the launch of the campaign today, the Mixed Martial Arts star was joined by James Reilly TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Aodhan O’ Riordain TD, Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, as well as Gordon Jeyes, Chief Executive of Tusla, the Child & Family Agency. Sharon O’ Halloran, CEO of SAFE Ireland, said that comprehensive annual statistics for domestic violence will be released later this month. Indications are that there will be another increase this year in the numbers of women coming forward to domestic violence services throughout the country. Last year over 8,000 women looked for support from a SAFE Ireland member service. “Our services are stretched beyond coping point at this stage”, she said. “SAFE Ireland has been compiling statistics for eight years. Year on year we have seen an increase in the numbers of women looking for help. Our members do the impossible sometimes by continuing to stretch their inadequate resources to meet the demand for their services. But, there is a point beyond which they can no longer stretch and that tipping point has already been reached.”
“We have to take domestic violence seriously. It is great to see three senior representatives of Government Departments at the launch of MAN UP today. We are optimistic that this is an indication that this Government is indeed serious about, not just hearing about domestic violence, but about responding to it with leadership and resources.
Mixed Martial Arts star Cathal Pendred approached SAFE Ireland a year ago to see if there was anything he could do to support the campaign. He says that men can use their common power to stand against domestic violence. Cathal is also being fully supported as MAN UP Champion by Fuze Sports Management and by the UFC who will be promoting MAN UP to its followers.
“As men and boys I believe we have real power,” Cathal said. “Each of us has our own unique set of strengths. But I believe we have one common power. And that’s the power to stand up against domestic violence. I know it might surprise some people that a UFC Mixed Martial Arts Fighter is involved in a campaign against domestic violence,” he continued. “And yes, I’m a fighter. It’s my job. It’s my passion. But one of my golden rules is to always keep my aggression in the ring”.
Minister James Reilly said that men have a critical responsibility to be positive role models for children and young boys. This influencing role of men is an important theme in this year’s MAN UP Campaign. “Domestic violence affects everyone. Children are affected too. Imagine the impact on a young child as they see violence between two people they love, respect and feel safe with. This can do nothing but harm” said James Reilly TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. “Domestic violence can have a lifetime impact on children. We have an obligation as a society to ensure that they are protected from violence and that they are fully supported if they have experienced it. Critically, however, we all, and particularly men, have a great opportunity to be models for younger boys and children – to teach them with our words and actions that being a strong man means respecting women and caring for others.”
This is the fourth year of the MAN UP Campaign, which is proving to be one of Ireland’s most successful campaigns on raising awareness about domestic abuse. Over the years MAN UP supporters have included broadcaster Ryan Tubridy, rugby star Rob Kearney and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD.
SAFE Ireland is the national organisation of 40 domestic violence services – www.safeireland.ie