Accord funding cut for lack of money, says Pat Rabbitte

Former minister appeals for funds to prevent vital Tallaght women’s refuge closing

Pat Rabbitte appealed to the Government to fund the refuge which had provided “safe harbour” since 2012 for 64 women and 84 children.

Pat Rabbitte appealed to the Government to fund the refuge which had provided “safe harbour” since 2012 for 64 women and 84 children.

 

The State funding cut for Catholic marriage support organisation Accord is due to a lack of money and has nothing to do with the same-sex marriage referendum, former minister Pat Rabbitte has said.

He told the Dáil: “It is clear to everybody and ought to be clear to their lordships that Tusla has a funding problem, having taken over new responsibilities this year.”

The Labour TD was speaking as he highlighted the plight of the Tallaght, Co Dublin women’s refuge, Cuan Álainn, which faces closure because housing agency Respond, which runs the shelter, can no longer fund it. The total annual cost of the facility is between €320,000 and €350,000.

Funding from Tusla to Accord has been reduced by €378,000 to €1.6 million.

‘Retaliation’

“The refuge in Tallaght certainly is not involved in the referendum. That is not the reason funding is being cut.”

Minister of State for Justice Dara Murphy agreed that “any suggestion of ulterior motives would be erroneous in the extreme”.

Respond founded Cuan Álainn in 2012 but the agency had funding for three years only.

Mr Rabbitte appealed to the Government to fund the refuge which had provided “safe harbour” since 2012 for 64 women and 84 children. He pointed out that Cuan Álainn was a second-stage facility providing temporary accommodation for up to nine months after initial stays in emergency refuges.

Emergency refuges

He added, however, that the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence was in the process of finalising a new cross-sectoral strategy from this year onwards.

Mr Rabbitte said it would be shameful if Cuan Álainn closed because it served a huge catchment area and would be more expensive for the State to provide alternative accommodation. The only choice for women and children if the refuge closed was to return to their abusive partners or to be allocated accommodation for the homeless.

Mr Murphy said he would raise the issue with the Ministers of the three departments concerned – Justice, Health and Environment.