Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality

Women's Shelters and Domestic Abuse Refuges: Discussion

Photo of Robbie GallagherRobbie Gallagher (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank all of the contributors for shining a light again on this heartbreaking crisis. I thank them also for the work that they do in this area. I am saddened and sickened by the lack of response from the State, and the manner in which the State is treating this problem is shameful. It would appear that what seems to be the problem and what has been touched upon by a number of contributions is that there are so many facets to this particular issue and nobody seems to be taking control of it. For that reason I would be one who would feel, as I believe was mentioned by Deputy Kenny in his earlier contribution, that we need one Department and one Minister to lead every aspect of this situation.

On the nine counties that were mentioned earlier, Deputy Smyth and I are from Monaghan and it is one of those counties where there is no service. I have known this for many years as I live quite close to Siobhán McKenna, former chair of Tearmann domestic violence abuse service, who has done Trojan work in this area for many years. The Tuslaaudit a number of members talked about earlier was due in the first quarter of this year, and here we are towards the end of the year and there is no word of it surfacing. This is just another example of how everything relating to this subject is let drift because nobody is taking control of it.

I have a number of questions or matters I would like people to comment on, please, as they wish. Ms Marmion has been rightly discussing symptoms to a problem and how those symptoms can manifest themselves across so many areas in a domestic violence situation, where someone who leaves the home can end up being homeless and socially isolated, leading to substance abuse in many instances. The stress and the load that family has to carry is unimaginable. I know we can talk about Covid-19 and how it has had an adverse effect on the numbers looking for help, but where are we going as a society when this problem seems to be getting worse year on year, ignoring Covid-19, if I may, for a moment? It seems things are getting worse, so what do we have to do to educate our society on this issue? Do we have to start in schools or where do we have to start the process of education on this issue? That is one question I would ask for some comments on, please.


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