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Justice Minister admits to putting EU/IMF legislation before Programme for Government commitments on domestic violence – McDonald

13 October, 2011 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Following the submission of a number of parliamentary questions relating to domestic violence by Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald, the Minister for Justice has shamefully admitted that the government will not progress its Programme commitments to introduce reformed domestic violence legislation until first disposing of EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support related legislation.

Deputy McDonald said:

“In April of this year the Council of Europe adopted the recommendations of the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention paves the way for creating a legal framework at pan-European level to protect women against all forms of violence, and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence.

“Despite Cosc, the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, pro-actively participating in the drawing up of the Convention text the current Fine Gael/Labour Government has not signed up to the Convention.

“In response to a parliamentary question raised with the Minister for Justice asking when he will sign the Convention on behalf of the State, the Minister has made no commitment to do so instead stating that he is awaiting a submission to the Government on the question of signing up.

“Safe Ireland’s domestic violence figures published recently are alarming. Women and children in situations of domestic violence could not access refuges on 3,236 occasions last year, that’s a 38% increase on equivalent figures for 2009. The government’s response to the increase in domestic violence is as alarming as the increase in the figures themselves. The HSE under the watch of the Minister for Health is engaging in a review of services, the third review it has undertaken in recent years.

“If anyone was in any doubt as to where this Government’s priorities lay Justice & Equality Minister Alan Shatter has pretty much dispelled any myth that they are with the women of this State. When asked when he would introduce consolidated and reformed domestic violence legislation as promised in the Programme for Government Minister Shatter responded by stating that the commitment would be progressed as soon as his Department disposed of urgent legislative matters under the EU/IMF Programme for Financial Support.”

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