Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Anne Rabbitte TD has said that reports that 16 women every day are being turned away from refuges is a shocking indictment of the Government’s commitment of stamping out domestic violence, and protecting women and children who are afraid for their safety.

Deputy Rabbitte was commenting after it became apparent over the weekend that the number of beds being made available for women fleeing violence in the home is woefully short of what is needed on a day to day basis.

The fact that half of all state funded refuge services were forced to say no to accepting vulnerable women must act as a wakeup call to the Government.

“The number of available refuge places in Ireland is significantly below the EU average. At present, there are less than 150 places across the State, but EU legislation recommends that there should be one for every 10,000 people which would require the State to triple its places to 446.”

“I see no evidence whatsoever of the Government moving to meaningfully address the chronic shortage of refuge places.”

“As I’ve said previously, adding eight places in Dublin will not make a material difference to the thousands of women and children who are being turned away every year.”

“The Government also seem to think that domestic violence only takes place in Dublin. More places are needed outside the M50. In the past two weeks, I’ve met women from the West of Ireland who were unable to access a refuge place. This is an issue that requires extra resourcing, and a willingness to look beyond a Dublin-centric viewpoint,” added Rabbitte.”

“Minister Zappone needs to ensure that additional funding is made available to dramatically increase the number of refuge places, especially outside of Dublin. Anything less will leave vulnerable women and children at even greater risk,” concluded Rabbitte.