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Domestic violence refuge to finally open after two-year wait

Teach Tearmainn is to open two of its six apartments – due to funding issues, it has been closed for two years.

One part of the unused refuge.
One part of the unused refuge.
Image: Jacinta Carey/Teach Tearmainn

A REFUGE FOR women and children that had been lying unused in Kildare for almost two years is to finally open its doors to people affected by domestic violence.

The refuge, which is run by Newbridge-based organisation Teach Tearmainn, was completed in 2011 but TheJournal.ie revealed the following year that it had still not opened.

The domestic violence support service completed the building, which comprises four self-contained apartments, in 2011. However, it needed in excess of €400,000 a year to stay open, and the HSE could only provide the service with €100,000.

Teach Tearmainn initially was approached by the HSE in 1998 about taking on the project, Jacinta Carey of Teach Tearmainn told TheJournal.ie in 2012.

In March of this year, Carey said that the board had not accepted the €100k as they felt it was not enough to provide a safe refuge to people.

However, this week Carey told TheJournal.ie that there was good news on the horizon.

We recently signed a contract with the local HSE to open two of the apartments. It will be a phased opening. We’re hopeful that they will be ready to be open and furnished within the first quarter of 2014.

She said that the organisation still has “another bit to do” and needs to find funding for more staff so that the remaining apartments can be opened.

“When the refuge is fully operational, we could have four women with up to 16 children in the premises at any one time,” she said.

It requires a certain number of staff and at the moment with funding received from the HSE we can only employ three staff. That is not sufficient to supervise and be responsible for that number of children.

“Until we can get the necessary funding to allow us to employ six staff in total it is regrettable but we won’t be able to open the other two [apartments],” said Carey.

She pointed out that this comes at a time when refuges are having to turn people away, and that there aren’t enough domestic violence refuges to cater for the needs of affected people in Ireland.

The apartment has to be furnished, funding for which Teach Tearmainn has recently received from the National Lottery. There is also some work to do inside and outside of the apartments to make them suitable and comfortable to live in.

When this is completed, Carey said “my timeframe would be mid-late February and I’m hoping we can stick with that”.

The apartments will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, but a risk assessment would also be involved.

Teach Tearmainn continues to offer its information and support services, as well as its court accompaniment service.

The Teach Tearmainn helpline is 045 438461 and its email address is jcarey@teachtearmainn.ie.

Read: Lack of funding means domestic violence refuge lies unused>

Read: Refuge still unopened one year on due to funding issues>

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