Funding cuts to Longford Women’s Link (LWL) have been condemned by one local TD in the Dáil this week.
Deputy Robert Troy - Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs - called for the “immediate reversal” of what he described as “savage cuts made to Longford Women’s Link”.
Deputy Troy also called for the reinstatement of the Garda domestic violence training programme for recruits.
The local TD was speaking in the Dáil this week during a debate on domestic violence.
“In 2013, LWL assisted 248 women and has supported 242 women this year to the end of October,” he said, adding, “These figures are scandalous in a county the size of Longford”.
He stated that HSE and Tusla funding for domestic violence services has been cut by 17%, while funding for the Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime’s domestic court accompaniment service has been reduced by 26%. Family Support Agency funding for counselling services has also been reduced by 47%.
“This is not good enough,” fumed Deputy Troy.
“If we are honest about addressing this issue, we must protect and sustain these services. I call on Minister Fitzgerald to reverse these cuts and ensure this service is supported into the future.”
He went on to say that there had been 11,000 domestic violence incidents reported this year, but that in just 287 cases “somebody got arrested”.
“One of the reasons for the low number of arrests for domestic violence is the insufficient level of training provided to Gardaí,” he added.
“The Garda domestic violence training programme for recruits has been axed as a result of a lack of funding from the Department of Justice. The programme based in the Garda College in Templemore was run by people who deal with rape victims on an ongoing basis.
“Minister Fitzgerald must reintroduce the programme if we are to be serious about tackling domestic abuse.”
Last week the Longford Leader reported that funding for another vital support service in Longford was also under threat.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP), which runs St Martha’s Hostel and Bethany House in Longford warned that the services will close next year if funding is not secured in the meantime.
St Martha’s Hostel and Bethany House provide emergency placements for men, women and children, who are homeless in this region