Government abandons Victims of Domestic Violence – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has accused the government of ‘abandoning women victims of domestic violence by imposing harsh and unacceptable cuts to funding for refuges that are trying to help victims and their children.”

Teachta Adams said: “Funding figures released to me by Jan O Sullivan, the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government on funding for homeless services, and in particular for women’s refuges for victims of domestic violence, make grim and disgraceful reading.  The funding figures expose the extent to which this government has broken its election promises and turned its back on homeless families and in particular those who depend on refuges in times of crisis.

“Following the announcement by Dundalk Women’s Refuge two weeks ago that it was going to close in June because of a significant cut in its funding, I submitted a series of Dáil questions.

In her reply the Minister explains that her department ‘provides funding to housing authorities towards the operational costs of homeless accommodation and related services under Section 10 of the Housing Act 1988. Housing authorities provide additional funding from their own resources.

The funding allocated for homeless accommodation across the state has been slashed from €56 million in 2009 to €45 million in 2013.

In that same period Louth has seen its funding cut by €317,488 from €1,197,451 to €879,963.

This has occurred at a time when a report from the Housing Agency has projected that a minimum of almost 80,000 residential units, or 15,932 units per year will be required in urban areas to support the population over the next five years.

The report also highlighted a striking need for housing in Drogheda town and Dundalk, where 1,284 and 1,088 units respectively are required between now and 2018.

The government’s response to housing need has been to cut homeless funding.

Cuts to Domestic Violence Refuges

More starkly however is the government’s ruthless approach to the victims of domestic violence. According to the government’s own figures the funding it now provides to domestic violence refuges in the North East region, which covers Louth, Monaghan and Cavan, has almost disappeared in the last five years.

In 2009 the region received €155,746. Five years later this has plummeted by over 90% to €12,900 – a massive cut of €142,846.

Women’s Aid Dundalk is one of only two refuges covering three counties. It is in the frontline of helping victims of domestic violence. It provides a 24/7 service. Last year the demand on its services were such that it was unable to accommodate 293 requests for refuge.

One consequence of this is that Drogheda Women’s Refuge which has limited space will now have to cope with victims from Louth, Cavan and Monaghan.

The loss of the Dundalk service will leave hundreds of women and children vulnerable to continued domestic violence.

Cuts to Rape Centres

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has also revealed that funding to Rape Crisis Centres and refuges previously funded by the HSE and which are now the responsibility of the new Child and Family Agency, have also seen significant cuts over the last five years.

These services, which are separate from the homeless refuge provision have seen funding in Louth cut by €202,272 from €1,060,053 in 2009 to €857,781 in 2013. This has occurred at a time when demand on these services has grown.

The reality is that services and support for women and children is now at an all time low and this is especially true for those experiencing abuse.

These cuts to services for some of the most vulnerable in our society are a clear breach of the commitments of Fine Gael and Labour in their Programme for Government and echoed in both the Labour and Fine Gael’s election manifesto. Indeed the Labour party manifesto went further containing a commitment to: “protect funding for frontline services, such as family refuges, and draw on best international practice to reform the way the courts system deals with domestic abuse case”.

Clearly the opposite is occurring and frontline services such a family refuges are now under serious threat. The government, but particularly the Labour Party, needs to honour its commitments, reverse the cutbacks and acknowledge the extent of this problem.

Domestic violence is a significant problem that will not go away and is a cause of great hurt and hardship. The legislative and practical steps needed to provide for victims and prosecute abusers are known. It needs political will by government to make it happen. “

Womens Aid

Flood & Boylan to Host 1916 Commemoration in Drogheda

SF Kenneth Flood SpeakingSinn Féin in Drogheda will hold it’s annual Easter commemoration to commemorate the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising and also all those who gave their lives in the pursuit of Irish Freedom. The parade will assemble at 12 o’clock outside St. Peters Church on West Street before marching to the republican monument on the Marsh Rd. The speaker will be Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan, and local Sinn Féin candidate Kenneth Flood will chair the event and all are welcome to attend.

Commenting in advance of the event Kenneth said,
“We will gather here in Drogheda on Easter Sunday to remember those republican revolutionaries who, in 1916 took on the might of the British empire and asserted in arms Ireland’s right to independence. We will also honour those who died in the cause of Irish freedom in every decade before and since 1916”.
Echoing the words of Louth TD and party president Gerry Adams, Kenneth said he would encourage as many people as possible to join in those commemorations, to celebrate 1916 and promote the ideal of Irish unity and independence.

He also called for people to “wear with pride the Easter lily, which is the symbol of our enduring commitment to these ideals and of our respect for all those, from every generation, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for Irish freedom.

“We wear an Easter Lily with pride, mindful not only of the past but of the promise of a brighter future.”

Members of Sinn Féin will sell Easter Lilies in the local area next week or you can call into the Sinn Féin office in West Street.

Tebbit remarks show why dealing with past must be a political priority – Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has criticised remarks by the former Chairman of the British Conservative Party, Norman Tebbit, in which he said he hoped a dissident republican group would shoot the North’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Mr Adams said: “I fully understand that Norman Tebbit has himself been a victim of the political conflict and I regret that he has suffered grievously. However, to publicly advocate the assassination of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is a shocking throwback to a violent past from which we are seeking to move on. The State visit is another important milestone in doing that.

“The remarks by Mr Tebbit are another clear example of why the issue of the past needs to be dealt with as a political priority. Martin McGuinness is a leader of political and personal courage who has worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the Peace Process and the cause of reconciliation between unionist and nationalist and between Britain and Ireland, at considerable risk to himself.

“Martin, his home and indeed his family have been targets for abuse and attack by so-called ‘dissident republicans’. To now have this type of activity encouraged by a member of the British House of Lords is unacceptable, and should be rejected by all right thinking people.

“Political leaders on both sides of the Irish Sea should reject the sentiments expressed by Mr Tebbit.”

Gerry Adams launches SF proposals for SME sector

SF SME Launch Gerry Pearse and JJLouth TD Gerry Adams, Councillor Pearse McGeough and local representative JJ Quigley launched the party’s proposals for Small and Medium Enterprises on Friday in Dundalk. The Sinn Féin leader outlined the party’s 10 proposals to boost the Small and Medium Enterprises sector.

Speaking after the launch of Sinn Féin’s policy document ‘Putting SME’s First’, Teachta Adams said: “Almost 70% of people in work are in the SME sector. This has greatest potential for jobs growth provided the government implements the right programme of policies.

“Under Fianna Fáil and this government some 128,000 jobs have been lost in the SME sector between 2008 and 2012.

“Sinn Féin believes that there are 10 steps that can be taken to effectively assist SMEs to develop and create jobs now.

“Our proposals, which we outline in detail, are to increase consumer demand; abolish upward only rents; tackle utility costs and rates; revive ‘Brand Ireland’; open up procurement; end unnecessary license delays; resolve SME distress and priorities access to credit; increase labour intensive infrastructure investment and to tackle the costs of doing business on the border.

“For Sinn Féin, SMEs are the priority when it comes to fostering indigenous industry and ensuring job creation. We strongly urge this government to consider our proposals as a matter of urgency for the SME sector.”

Corrigan Proposes Motion Of No Confidence In Government Directive

waCllr Edel Corrigan has today called for a special meeting of Louth County
Council to tackle the issue of the announced closure of the Women’s Aid Refuge
in Dundalk.

Cllr Corrigan is calling for a meeting under Section 5 of
Standing Orders and has submitted her petition today, which had joint support from a number of other county Councillors, to propose of the following
motion:

“That Louth County Council have no confidence in the directive from the government which has led to the reduction of funding and the forced closure of Dundalk Women’s Aid refuge. That Louth County Council Petition National Government to provide additional funding for the provision of services at Women’s Aid refuge Dundalk with immediate effect.”

Commenting on the proposed closure, Edel Corrigan said “It is tragic to think that such a vital service like the Women’s Aid Refuge will be removed from Dundalk. I am dumbfounded by the recklessness and disregard the government have for the needs of the people they claim to represent. It takes a lot for someone in an abusive situation to remove themselves from such a dangerous environment and now these women will have nowhere to turn to.”

Councillor Corrigan continued, “Housing policies already work against those who leave the family home. Criteria for being accepted to the local authority housing list exempt you if you have a financial interest in the property. The facilities at the Women’s Aid Refuge are second to none. What are these women and children expected to do now? It’s bad enough that such a high demand for these services and lack of funding has
previously led to hundreds women and children being turned away from the Women’s Aid refuge in Dundalk as there are no resources to accommodate them.”

Corrigan concluded “we need to be preventing Domestic Violence by educating people of its effects and supporting those who need help to get out of harmful situations, not abandoning them when they are most in need of support.”