A REFUGE IN Wexford for victims of domestic abuse is to close from next month for a 13 week period despite a high demand for services in the region.
Last night a public meeting was held to try to stop the HSE’s plan to shut down the Wexford Women’s Refuge, which provides support and emergency accommodation for women and children forced to leave their homes due to domestic violence. It has overrun its budget by €67,000 and looks set to have a budget deficit of €100,000 by the end of this year.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, People Before Profit representative Seamus O’Brien said that the reason for this is that there has been a 34 per cent cut to the running budget of the resource centre.
“Before Christmas last year the 24 hour helpline went, constantly people are fundraising to provide services within the refuge but we believe that this is an essential service that must be funded centrally from the HSE and the Department of Health,” he said.
O’Brien added that if the refuge were to close, the closest ones are in Bray and Waterford which does not leave women who are in immediate need of the service with many options.
Currently there are four families living at the refuge and he said their future has now been “thrown into chaos”.
A spokesperson for the refuge’s committee said that assurances have been given by a representative for Minister Brendan Howlin that a meeting will take place with some of its members as soon as possible.
The committee has also decided to conduct a protest march through the town of Wexford to highlight the closure. “We need all the help we can get to stop this outrageous plan,” the spokesperson said.