Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Niamh Smyth has said that while the passage of the new Domestic Violence Act 2017 is positive, it is deeply frustrating that there is still no women’s refuge centre in either of the two counties.

Deputy Smyth was commenting after all stages of the new act were passed by the Dáil last night.

“Fianna Fáil was happy to help this bill get passed; we formulated amendments to make the bill stronger and more robust to ensure that it was a victim centred piece of legislation,” added Smyth who serves as President of the Fianna Fáil Women’s Network.

“However, I am concerned that there is still no single women’s refuge centre in either Cavan or Monaghan.

“To make matters worse, Minister Zappone informed me by way of a PQ recently that Tusla has ‘no immediate plans to provide a refuge in the Cavan/Monaghan area.’

“This is incredibly disappointing. Cavan-Monaghan is one of the few places in the country where no such facility is available.

“It has been estimated by Women’s Aid that one in five women who have been in a relationship have been abused by a current or former partner. The women of Cavan and Monaghan are not immune to abuse, and they need a safe haven for when they leave an abusive partner.

“Of course the passage of this bill is welcome as for the first time it creates the offence of coercive control i.e. sustained emotional and psychological abuse through threats, intimidation, control or restrictions of liberty.

“However the simple fact is that the women of Cavan and Monaghan still need to somewhere to go and the Minister’s confirmation that no facility is forthcoming is really disappointing.

“I will be lobbying the Minister and Tusla to do a U-turn on this issue. We need to protect women and give women a safe place to go to no matter where they live in Ireland,” concluded Smyth.