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Tallaght women's refuge to close doors due to lack of funding

The Cuan Álainn refuge supports mothers and children before they move into longer-term housing.

Image: Shutterstock/ChameleonsEye

Updated at 3pm

HOUSING CHARITY RESPOND has said it will have to close a refuge for women and children in Tallaght unless it receives emergency government funding.

Nine adults and 18 children are currently staying at the Cuan Álainn facility, which costs €350,000 to run per annum.

The refuge has supported some 71 women and 96 children since it opened in 2012, but Respond says it can no longer afford to keep it open.

“We have come to the regrettable decision to close the service in an orderly manner before the end of the year,” Ned Brennan, the charity’s CEO, said.

We cannot continue to fully subvent this service, 100% from our own resources, without any state assistance due to the cost burden.

Brennan added that plans are now underway to arrange alternative accommodation for those living in the facility.

“Without this service, women and children may now have to return home to an abusive environment or be forced to enter homelessness,” he said.

Lack of funding

Brennan told TheJournal.ie that Respond has requested funding on several occasions from the government’s child and family agency, Tusla, and South Dublin County Council.

Though most of its referrals come from state services, the refuge has received no government funding since opening three and a half years ago, he said.

Tusla confirmed it has met with the charity to discuss the potential closure but that it has not at any stage financially supported the service which is independent of the state sector.

“[The facility] does not operate as a frontline emergency domestic violence service, rather it provides ‘step down’ or ‘transitional’ accommodation to support a transition to a permanent settled home,” a spokesperson said.

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While it endorses the use of second-stage accommodation to support people moving on from emergency accommodation, the agency said its primary focus is on “the optimum use of emergency shelter accommodation”, as well as “effective community-based services”.

That argument, in Brennan’s view, is hypocritical.

“We get most of our referrals from the HSE and Garda Síochána,” he said.

Other refuge providers in Dublin and as far out as north Wicklow are asking us to take people in because they’ve no room - we’re providing an overflow service at this stage.

First published at 6:05am

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About the author:

Catherine Healy

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