Independent Senator Lynn Ruane has questioned South Dublin County Council’s decision to withdraw funding for the purchase of a house to be used by Saoirse Women’s Refuge.
Senator Ruane was speaking in the Seanad on Tuesday about a recent case where the local refuge was seven months into the purchasing process when South Dublin County Council, who had pledged €500,000 towards buying the house, withdrew the money over “some sort of refurbishment fee.”
The council then directed the refuge to the capital assistance scheme.
Senator Ruane told the House she is looking for answers at a time when a discussion on domestic violence was taking place.
“I was going to raise it today when debating the Domestic Violence Bill but I feel this is not appropriate because we will be discussing amendments. The issue probably does not fit in with that debate.
“At a time when we are discussing legislation on domestic violence, we now have only ten refuge beds available for women.
“The facility in Rathmines has been closed for the past two months. In the next few weeks, Saoirse refuge will possibly lose the house in question.
“It would have afforded 17 women refuge over the coming months.
“I would like the Leader to examine whether there is a way of prioritising an application under the capital assistance scheme or of approaching the local authority to ask it why it has withdrawn the €500,000.
“This is to ensure the refuge will not lose the important house in Rathcoole. Having services and resources on the ground is very important if we are to introduce legislation and implement change.”