A state-of-the-art women and children’s refuge centre, 16 years in the pipeline, opened two of its four apartments on Monday in Kildare town to families fleeing domestic violence.
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, officially launched Teach Tearmainn, which has been vacant since it was first built in January 2012 at a cost of €1.1 million, by planting a “tree of hope” in the grounds.
“I hope in the very near future that the whole facility will be available,” said Minister Fitzgerald.
Teach Tearmainn chairperson Anne Daly said funds are needed to open all four apartments.“We have already had to turn people away and as of tomorrow we are full.”
Teach Tearmainn is funded by the HSE at a total of €234,000 per year but this falls short by €120,000 of total needs, and as a result it will only cover running costs to open two of the four apartments in the newly-built complex.
The Minster praised the huge voluntary effort over the past 16 years including the hard work and tenacity of refuge manager Jacinta Carey and Newbridge Community Development (NCD), where Teach Tearmainn was first mooted as an idea.
NCD Chairperson Micheal Mullally, however, said the 16 year wait for the refuge to open - due to lack of funds and resources - was a cause for worry and embarassment.