Fianna Fáil Party Whip and General Election candidate for Kildare South Sean Ó Fearghaíl TD has criticised the Government for failing to adequately resource Tusla, the the Child and Family Agency.

Deputy Sean Ó Fearghaíl pointed out that a much needed family refuge centre in Kildare remains under-utilized due to a consistent lack of funding.

“Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects thousands of women across Ireland. The Government should be doing its utmost to raise awareness of domestic violence and put in place the necessary services for woman seeking refuge from a violent partner,” said Deputy Ó Fearghaíl.

“However in many cases this support is sorely lacking. Tusla has been tasked by the Government to provide support services for women who find themselves in a violent relationship. However Tusla have pointed out time and time again that they are underfunded. They lack the necessary resources to implement all of the services that they feel are necessary to support vulnerable women and their children.

“Take for example Teach Tearmainn Women & Children’s Refuge in Kildare. This refuge centre was built and completed using capital investment. However it is only partially open as the Government has not given enough money to Tusla to allow the organisation open the entire facility. This is shameful when you consider the high demand that is being placed on Tusla by women who need assistance overcoming a violent relationship.

“At least two apartments are currently closed at the Teach Tearmainn refuge centre. These two apartments could be used to provide safe and comfortable housing for women and their children. However this cannot be achieved so long as the Government continues to underfund Tusla. Fine Gael and Labour are expecting the organisation to operate on a shoestring.

“The Government is talking about implementing tax cuts for the most well off in society at the next budget. I am calling on Fine Gael and Labour to ensure that services for victims of domestic abuse receive the necessary funding they need before proceeding with tax cuts for the rich.”