MORE funding is needed for domestic abuse services in Laois as the number using the services has increased by over 50 per cent in recent times.
That was the motion put forward by Cllr Caroline Dwane at the December meeting of Portlaoise Town Council, when she called on the Minister for Health and the Minister for Justice to increase funding in 2013 for these vital services.
“There’s been an increase of 55% using the service,” she said.
“Almost 2,500 women and children were turned away as there are no adequate services.”
Cllr Dwane explained that funding is received from both the Department of Health and the Department of Justice, but funding has been dealt a substantial cut.
“A lot of women are exposed and open to this type of abuse,” she said, adding that December is one of the busiest times for the service.
She explained that Laois is near the very bottom of funding in the State, with €56,000 allocated to the county compared to €134,000 in Carlow.
“It’s a full-time service on a shoestring budget,” she said.
Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald, a director of the local service, said that staff are working way beyond the call of duty and she expressed a hope that the funding will increase.
“More money is badly needed,” added Cllr Kathleen O’Brien.
“We’re very lucky to have the premises here.”