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25 May 2022

Laois and Offaly could finally be getting domestic violence refuges

"It will be done" - says Taoiseach

Taoiseach promises funding for domestic refuge centres following death of Ashling Murphy

Funding to open domestic violence refuges in Laois and Offaly could finally be delivered, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has indicated. 

The counties are among nine in Ireland that do not have such facilities. While public representatives and domestic violence support services have campaigned locally for years, no money was available.

Now, however in the wake of Ashling Murphy's death in Tullamore, it appears that there could be movement.

The Taoiseach committed to providing for such services, while speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland on January 20. 

"I can understand people's cynicism, and scepticism about whether this will be done. I can assure people it will be done. It will be followed through," he said of funding for services. 

"The death of Ashling Murphy has shocked the nation. We saw in the Dáil yesterday that all parties are resolved to work together... to create a cross-party mechanism to ensure that we can fulfill these timelines and ensure that we're not back in a year's time asking why these timelines weren't met," An Taoiseach said.  

Women seeking protection in both counties have had to be housed in emergency homes in other counties which has an impact on the education of children.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said: "We must all work together to achieve a shared goal of zero tolerance of violence and abuse against women".

Several domestic violence support groups gave evidence to the Joint Justice Committee recently, she said.

"As the Taoiseach has said, I am leading the development of the third national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender based violence," Minister McEntee outlined.

"We have been working on this strategy for a year, and we listened to those in the sector who work on the frontline. And I am so grateful for their work, their support and their contributions.

"We listened to victims and survivors," she said. 

"It will be underpinned by clear actions, timelines for reform and robust accountability mechanisms. It will be resourced as it should be," Ms McEntee said. 

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