Services for victims of domestic violence must be prioritised - Ó Snodaigh
Responding to the near closure today of the National Domestic Violence Intervention Agency (NDVIA), which operates in the Dún Laoghaire and Bray District Court areas, Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on the Minister to give a firm and public commitment that a decision on the long-term future of the vital intervention agency will be made within the next three months.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "The NDVIA have agreed this morning in telephone discussions with the Minister for Justice to accept funding on a month by month basis for a maximum of three months before the end of which they insist the Department must make a decision as to the future of the agency including its funding and possible extension. I welcome the fact that the NDVIA are not closing and losing their staff today. However, it remains the case that for ethical reasons linked to the uncertainty that still surrounds their future they will probably still be unable to resume taking referrals until the decision as to their long-term future is made.
"The disregard demonstrated by the Minister for the crime of domestic violence and for agencies working on the front lines has been unacceptable. By failing to act on calls from the agency to meet with Department officials dating back to September 2006 and reiterated by me to him directly in the Dáil chamber at the beginning of December he has pushed this agency to the point of closure.
"The merits of the work model of the agency is apparent to all and have been documented in an independent evaluation commissioned by the Department and published many months ago. I cannot understand why the Minister and his Departments are only now making their minds up as to the future of this vital project which works successfully to improve victim safety and offender accountability.
"Domestic violence related crime must be given the priority it requires and the NDVIA must be provided with adequate funding to secure its long term future." ENDS