Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams today raised the shock closure of Dundalk Women’s Aid with the Taoiseach in the Dáil and questioned Enda Kenny on promised legislation to protect the victims of domestic violence.
Speaking afterward Gerry Adams said: “I welcome the Taoiseach’s commitment that the general scheme on updating and reforming the existing legislation on domestic violence will be published before the summer recess. However, I am concerned that it could still be next year before the actual Bill is published. This is an unnecessary and unacceptable delay.
In the meantime government cutbacks to funding for Rape Crisis Centres and Women’s Aid Refuges, like that in Dundalk, are stripping away much needed protections from the victims of domestic violence.
The programme for Government promised to introduce reformed domestic violence legislation to address all aspects of domestic violence and to do so in a manner that provides protection to victims.
There will be significantly reduced protection for women and children victims of domestic violence if Dundalk Women’s Ard refuge is forced to close.
This will leave Drogheda women's aid centre as the only refuge for victims of domestic violence covering Louth, Cavan and Monaghan.
How can the Government claim to be protecting victims when the Department of the Environment is cutting funding on homelessness through local councils and this is having a direct impact on the funding of Women’s refuges for women and children victims of domestic violence?
The government has no difficulty finding billions of money for the banks but isn’t prepared to set aside the relatively small amount of money required to support distressed and vulnerable women and children.
The Government must reverse policy on this issue. Funding for Dundalk Women’s Aid should be restored and the legislative protections needed for those at risk should be put in place speedily.”