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
I apologise for being late. I was at another meeting so I missed most of the presentations. I will generalise about my thinking. I listened to Ms McDermott speak about the absolute right to have a home. I agree with her. Unfortunately, where I come from in south Kildare, there are many people who do not have that. They are so beaten down and they are finding it difficult to access services. That is not the fault of the service; it is just that it is very limited. We also have to be aware that, as others said, the staff are absolutely exhausted. I do not doubt that. I am dealing with both males and females who come to my office. They are really struggling. It is extremely difficult to sustain housing after being in a situation like this. What can we do within the local authorities? Can we approach them to try to help? Where can we go? I am very aware of how difficult it is for people to move out of the situation.
I am rushing because I am due to be in the Dáil Chamber in a few minutes. I am also concerned about the education of children where they fall into that category.
When we talk about schools, we are not only talking about education. Many children depend on schools for a warm breakfast or whatever is provided at lunchtime. I want to see what I can do in south Kildare to help. At the moment, we need more public housing to be built to sustain what needs to move forward from the refuges.