Louth TD Gerry Adams speaking on International Women’s Day said: “International Women’s Day is an important opportunity to celebrate women who are active in society; in their communities, trade unions, voluntary organisations and the political institutions of Ireland.
“However, it is also a time for reflecting on the serious inequalities that still exist and the fact that in many ways women continue to be second class citizens. The decision by the government to finally ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) is welcome. However, it is important to note that it has taken the government eight years to achieve this. The onus now is on the government to implement the Istanbul Convention in full.
“A range of surveys over the years have found that one third of women surveyed were victims of sexual of physical violence. A shocking and harrowing fact. Research has also found that 70% of women in the Irish state experience sexual and physical violence suffer in silence. “Despite the progress that has been made in recent decades there is still serious inequality between women and men in the workplace; in employment rights; and in access to education and health.
Councillor Anne Campbell added; “Women have been failed by the political system where they are continually underrepresented in Council Chambers and in the Dáil and the Seanad. Politics remains an unfriendly environment for families and women, a reality that benefits no one.
“Women on the island of Ireland and all over the world have won many battles for equality over the past century, but there are further battles ahead. The struggle for equality must continue”.
Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has today called for the Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath TD to stamp out the culture of non-accountability, saying that unless he does so, the Commission of Investigation will not be worth the paper it is written on.
Deputy Munster said:
“Up to now the practice of holding people to account is the one thing that is always missing, scandal after scandal.”
“The series of appalling failures that Grace fell victim to is rife with a lack of accountability on the part of those who were entrusted with Grace’s care.”
“For 20 years Grace endured abuse and neglect and despite concerns being reported by whistle-blowers the HSE neglected to investigate allegations of abuse that allegedly occurred in the foster home.”
“This wasn’t just a systems failure. It was a failure of individuals. We need to know who is responsible, who knew this was happening at the top levels of management, we need to investigate allegations of a cover up and if files were destroyed, but the most glaring question of all is why was nobody disciplined, sacked or charged with a criminal offence?”
“Minister McGrath needs to realise that a Commission of Investigation needs to include other children who went through this foster home, needs to implement the recommendations contained in the Dignam report, but above all else, it needs to find those who are responsible, and ensure that they are brought to account.”
“What people want to see from this Commission of Investigation is this culture of non-accountability stamped out once and for all.”
Sinn Fein TD for Louth Gerry Adams has criticised the lengthy therapy waits experienced by adult survivors of childhood abuse.
The TD made the following remarks on receipt of a response to a parliamentary question on the issue which indicated a waiting time in Louth of 6 weeks for initial assessment and 13 months for counselling.
Gerry Adams said;
“The HSE’s National Counselling Service was established in September 2000 and it primarily caters for adults who experienced abuse as children while in the care of the State.
“The response which I have received from the HSE indicates a wholly inadequate service to vulnerable people who have already been failed by the State.
“Across the State the waiting times for initial assessment vary between 4 weeks and 9 months while the waiting time for counselling varies between 6 and 16 months. It seems that in recovery Ireland access to necessary services for those abused as children is determined by location rather than need.”
“This PQ response further indicates that there is an issue in certain areas regarding staff vacancies with counsellors being redeployed to other areas as needed, thereby reducing overall provision.
“This is simply unacceptable and I have written to the Health Minister on foot of this response to find out what staff vacancies exists across this service, where vacancies are located and the reasons for the failure to recruit adequate staff numbers to perform this vital service.
“Adults who experienced abuse as children while under the protection of the State are a highly vulnerable cohort of citizens. They must not be further victimised through delays or denials of essential services.
“The HSE’s Mental Health Division has informed me that priority long waiters will be addressed through Programme for Government funding in 2016 and I have asked the Minister for further details on how this will impact on the Louth waiting times.”