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 Marian HarkinMarian Harkin (Sligo-Leitrim, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Chairman for allowing me to speak and I thank the witnesses for their comprehensive but chilling testimonies. As the meeting has worn on, we are hearing more and more of the raw reality of domestic violence. As Ms McDermott stated, it is a very dark subject.

Deputies Niamh Smyth and Tully referred to the fact there is no refuge in their constituency of Cavan-Monaghan. It gives me no satisfaction to say that, in the constituency I represent, there is no dedicated refuge.

My colleague, Deputy Fitzmaurice, asked me to pass on his apologies. He is attending a meeting of the Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine but wishes to express his support and the need for dedicated refuge centres.

My question, which has partly been answered, is what progress, if any, is being made in the provision of dedicated refuge spaces in the nine counties in question? I am particularly interested in the situation in my constituency of Sligo-Leitrim, which includes north Roscommon and south Donegal. I know there is support from the local authorities and the Domestic Violence Advocacy Service, DVAS, but as Ms Graham and Ms McDermott stated, there is no one pot of money to which one can go. It often starts with community groups but we need an integrated State response, which is not happening.

I have a difficult question to ask. In the absence of such an integrated response, what dots can we, as legislators, join right now to try to start integrating the dispersed services that exist? I know that is an impossible question but we are dealing with what seems to be an impossible situation. My apologies for asking such an impossible question.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.