Fianna Fáil TD for Longford Westmeath Robert Troy has accused the Children’s Minister of abandoning victims of abuse by slashing funding for the Westmeath Support Services Against Domestic Abuse. The organisation, which caters for women who have been physically, mentally and sexually abused, has been informed that its funding is being withdrawn.
Deputy Troy commented, “The decision by Minister Reilly to “reconfigure” services in Westmeath is nothing short of scandalous. In the grand scheme of things €49,000 is a drop in the ocean in terms of spending for essential services, yet Minister James Reilly has chosen to deny this funding to the Westmeath Support Services Against Domestic Abuse.
“This organisation provides much needed support and reassurance to women throughout the county who have been the victims of abuse who are in extremely vulnerable positions. Instead of enhancing supports, the Minister has chosen to “re-organise” the funding model under the auspices of Tusla, which is already suffering from major funding shortfalls.
“The Minister’s attempts to gloss over these structural changes are not fooling anyone. Instead of talking about reconfiguration and rationalisation, Minister Reilly should be upfront with people and admit that these important services are facing cuts and closures. If it was a genuine rationalisation plan, these changes should have been introduced before any cuts were made, instead of the other way around.
“This Minister has left a shameful legacy in the Department of Health and seems to be repeating his appalling slash and burn mantra in the Department of Children. This is the latest heartless cut imposed on an important support service and it should not be tolerated. Vulnerable abuse victims are being penalised because of Minister Reilly’s failure to secure an adequate budget for Tusla, which now delivers domestic, sexual and gender-based violence support services. This is completely unacceptable. It is time the Minister stood up for vulnerable victims and ensure that adequate funding is available for localised support services instead of continuing with his cull on the health and community sector”.