Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has called on the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to urgently review the need for a women’s refuge to serve the needs of women across the two counties.

At the moment women and children from Cavan and Monaghan are referred to refuges in Navan, Dundalk or Drogheda because there are none in their own counties.

Deputy Smyth commented, “Access to refuge services in the North East are well below what is needed but the Government is continuing to turn a blind eye to the situation.  The fact that there is no women’s refuge in either Cavan or Monaghan is a damning indictment of the Government’s failure to act to address the issue of violence against women.

“The latest figures from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs reveal that 251 women in Cavan and Monaghan accessed services at the Tearmann Domestic Violence service, which covers the two counties, in 2015.  However, these women must then travel to either Navan, Dundalk or Drogheda if they manage to secure a place in a refuge.  This is completely impractical in cases where there are children involved as they would usually be attending school in their own home town.

“In a reply to a Parliamentary Question Minister Zappone confirmed that “Tusla has no immediate plans to develop additional refuges in the North East”.  This is deeply disappointing, especially considering the fact that the number of refuge places available in Ireland is well below the EU average.  Minister Zappone has indicated that funding for domestic, sexual and gender based services will increase this year – I am calling on her to seriously examine the need for a refuge for Cavan and Monaghan and to provide the necessary services to women living in these two counties”.