Friday, 19 February 2021
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Gabhaim buíochas, a Chathaoirligh agus a Cheannaire. I welcome the statement by the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Humphreys, that she will extend access to rent supplement for the victims of domestic violence without a means test. The Leader will be aware that this measure was introduced last August to facilitate people who had to leave home because of domestic violence and to ensure they were not left with nowhere to go. I also acknowledge the work done by the women’s caucus on Limerick City and County Council and my colleague, Councillor Sarah Kiely, the leader of that caucus, in recognising how much more difficult the lockdown has been for women, in particular, the victims of domestic violence. It is important to acknowledge this.
I note that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is the only local authority in the country that does not have a women’s refuge. I have raised this issue with the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Deputy O’Gorman. We have been talking about this since I was elected to the council in 2009, when the matter was raised. It seems bizarre to me that in a large populous area like Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown we do not have a women’s refuge. There is a major lacuna in the provision of services in the area and we know from statistics given by Safe Ireland that seven families, that is, seven groups of women and children, are being turned away every day because facilities are not available. The position is obviously worse now in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area. I ask that the House agree to discuss this issue and have it brought to the fore of the debate, particularly in the context that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is the only local authority area in the country where these services are not provided. The issue is also particularly acute given that it is probably the local authority with the highest property prices and rents in the country. This is a real problem that needs to be addressed. I call for a debate on the issue.