Vital refuge centre remains empty

the opening of a vital state-of-the-art women’s refuge centre for women and children escaping domestic violence in Kildare is on hold until the HSE release the funds.

the opening of a vital state-of-the-art women’s refuge centre for women and children escaping domestic violence in Kildare is on hold until the HSE release the funds.

Teach Tearmainn, which was established 12 years ago and relies heavily on funding from the HSE (Health Service Executive), was due to open the state-of-the-art Women’s refuge and sports centre in Kildare Town last November. It will cost an estimated €400,000 a year to run and as of yet there have been no funding forthcoming from the HSE for its operation.

However the HSE claims that attempts have been made to meet with Teach Tearmainn on the issue and a scheduled meeting had to be postponed in early march due to unforeseen circumstances. The HSE has proposed a new date for this meeting.

“I’m sitting in an empty building,” said Jacinta Carey Manager of Teach Tearmainn. “The board and staff of Teach Tearmainn are willing and eager to provide services, however, it would appear that the HSE is not. Sixteen women and 42 children from Kildare have sought refuge here since January and we had to send them to other refuges around the country. It is simply not good enough for us to say ring another refuge - it creates all sorts of problems - if a woman from Kildare goes to a refuge elsewhere then she can’t go on the housing list here. She will get no social support as she will have to leave friends and family and the already traumatised children will have to leave their friends and school. We applied to the Lotto last year for funds to supply the apartments with furniture and we didn’t get it. While the state has invested heavily - €1 million- in the project we still can’t open the building.”

According to Ms Carey, the HSE made no indications that funding would not be readily available for the running of the centre prior to the signing of the building contract in February 2011.

“They have supported Teach Tearmainn through the years,” she said. “Almost one million will have been put in by the time its finished and the vast majority came from them. We have been writing to the HSE since we took ownership on January 17, 2012.”

A spokesperson for the HSE said they are currently in discussions with Teach Tearmainn through a statement released to the Leinster Leader. It said: “reflecting the current economic situation the HSE must manage service levels within existing resources. The HSE is currently in discussions with Teach Tearmainn to determine what level of funding can be provided given the financial challenges. The HSE is committed to continuing to work with Teach Tearmainn”.

Paula Campbell

paula@leinsterleader.ie