Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly has welcomed the publication of a strategy to address gender-based violence, but warned that the government continues to lack the urgency this issue requires.
Speaking today, Teachta O’Reilly said:
“The publication of this strategy today is late but welcome. Violence against women and girls, and the threat of it, casts a long and dark shadow across our society.
“In the wake of the awful and tragic murder of Ashling Murphy earlier this year, there was a collective outcry and a sense that things had to change. All politicians were united in their desire to ensure this issue is finally addressed.
“However, I am concerned that this strategy does not go far enough, or bring about the change required with sufficient urgency. I am alarmed to hear that the pace of delivery for refuge spaces means that it will be decades before we meet our obligations under the Istanbul Convention in terms of refuge places. This is an area where we urgently need action. Although a doubling of the places is welcome, it still falls far short of the supports that survivors of abuse need. This leaves us over 200 beds short of what is needed.
“As long as people affected by abuse do not have a safe place to go, we are failing survivors. This is completely unacceptable.
“I am also deeply concerned that the strategy does not include commitments on delivering paid leave for survivors of domestic violence. In their programme for government, the coalition pledged to look at introducing paid leave for survivors of domestic violence. Despite this, they have failed to do so. I have written this legislation, brought it before the Dáil, secured cross party endorsement at Committee as well as from domestic violence services, trade unions and employers. The government must end their delay and work with me to progress this legislation so that women can access this urgent entitlement.
“Sinn Féin will work with all parties to ensure that key commitments on ending violence against women and girls are delivered without any more delays. This issue must be treated with the urgency that it deserves. Women and girls cannot wait any longer.”