‘Acute’ need for women’s refuge in north county DublinGary Ibbotson 16 Mar 2023
There is an “acute” need for a women’s refuge centre in north county Dublin, according to local political representatives.
There is currently no women’s refuge in north county Dublin despite “the very large population living in the area,” said Fianna Fail Senator Lorraine Clifford Lee.
Senator Clifford Lee raised the issue in the Seanad with Minister at the Department of Justice James Browne TD.
“Communities in North Fingal need a commitment to funding and they need the Department of Justice to engage with Fingal County Council and various stakeholders to deliver this and deliver it without further delay for the women and children of North County Dublin,” she said.
“Unfortunately, there has been an increase in gender-based and domestic violence in Ireland.
“Women and their children have been subjected to great violence within their own homes at the hands of a current or former intimate partner.
“For women and children who have to flee their homes often with just the clothes on their backs, they need to know that there is someplace local to them where they can go, be safe and get the support they need.”
Labour TD for Fingal Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said that “alarm bells” must be ringing in the Department of Justice due to lack of women’s refuge centres.
“Last June, the Justice Minister announced a strategy to transform Ireland’s approach to protecting and supporting victims and survivors of domestic, gender and sexual violence,” he said.
“However, it appears that the party of law and order Fine Gael is all talk and no action when it comes to protecting some of the most vulnerable people in society.
“It is a damning inditement of the frailty of our State-infrastructure, that should be preventing and responding to domestic violence.
“Labour is demanding that the Justice Minister commits to opening a refuge space in each and every county to help victims of domestic abuse, and enable them to stay in their community with the support of friends and family.”
Minister Browne said that the Department of Justice was working with Fingal County Council to secure a site for a woman’s refuge and that Balbriggan had been identified as a priority area.
“The zero tolerance strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, which was published last June and runs to 2026, commits to doubling the number of refuge places within its lifetime,” he said.
“It is our intention that an additional 98 refuge units in priority locations will have been delivered by 2025 which, together with a further 19 additional and upgraded units delivered before the end of the strategy, will double the current number of refuge places.
“Balbriggan was identified as one of the priority locations and I understand that Aoibhneas women’s and children’s refuge is working with Tusla’s domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services and Fingal County Council to advance this new refuge and secure a site in the area for the new facility.”
Senator Clifford Lee agreed with the Minister that Balbriggan should be classified as a priority area as was first identified in a TUSLA report published in February 2022, “given the increase in population in the wider area in recent years.
“The Department must move quickly as we can’t see women going with no safe place to go when they experience violence at home,” she said.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) recently said that violence against women in Ireland has “reached crisis levels.”
Violence against women reached record numbers in 2022, with the highest number of violent deaths recorded since 2007.