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Funding for Women's Aid must be provided - Ó Snodaigh

1 November, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called for increased funding for Women's Aid so that they can operate at a level that fully meets the demand for their services. Deputy Ó Snodaigh was speaking today after it was revealed that 10,000 calls to the campaign group's domestic violence helpline went unanswered last year due to lack of resources.

He said, "Given the increased prevalence of violence against women in Ireland, demand for services from groups such as Women's Aid continues to increase on a yearly basis. However, funding for these services does not increase at anything near the same rate. This results in an increased dependence on charity and volunteer work but ultimately services have to be cut which means victims of domestic violence being denied vital services required to help them to recover from their ordeals.

"It is not good enough for Health Minister Mary Harney to side step this issue by simply referring it to the HSE while victims of domestic voilence continue to suffer. I explicitly raised this issue in a Parliamentary Question to the Minister in May and she responded by telling me that the HSE would get back to me. They never did.

"It is completely unacceptable that this funding is not being provided but for Minister Harney to be dodging responsibility in this manner is appalling. The ten thousand unanswered calls to Women's Aid means an alarming amount of people are continuing to suffer as a direct result of under-funding from the state. This funding must be provided so the organisation can operate at a level that fully meets the demands for its services. It is also vitally important that the Department continually assesses the demand for such services and provides the adequate amount of funding to meet future demands." ENDS

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