February 24, 2023
Government must amend ‘flawed and potentially harmful’ domestic violence legislation – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has urged the government to act urgently to amend their ‘deeply flawed and potentially harmful’ legislation to provide domestic violence leave.

Teachta O’Reilly has drafted comprehensive legislation to facilitate paid leave for survivors of domestic violence to take time off work required to attend counselling services, medical appointments, court hearings or to move house as a result of abuse.

However, the government has blocked this legislation and instead pursued their own deeply flawed and inadequate bill despite repeated concerns.

Speaking today, Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The government’s legislation is a weaker version of the legislation which I tabled but is missing some key elements.

“I am very concerned that the bill uses the same model as sick pay for the introduction of domestic violence pay. This enables survivors’ pay to be cut by 30% when they seek this leave. 

“This is unacceptable for two key reasons. Firstly, survivors of domestic violence experience acute financial hardship at the moment that they seek to leave an abusive situation. They deserve all the financial resources they need at the time and it is unconscionable that they should be subject to a pay cut. 

“Secondly, if an abuser is monitoring a victim’s bank accounts as part of coercive control, it is possible that these reduced pay slips could alert them to the fact that a victim is in the process of attempting to leave. This could place the victim in acute danger.

“The bill goes to report stage in the Seanad next week, after which no changes can be made to this legislation. I am urging the government to do the right thing and get to grips with the major flaws in this legislation before it is too late.

“I raised this issue earlier in the week in the Dáil with the Taoiseach and was alarmed by the lack of understanding or urgency from him on this crucial issue.

“Media reports today suggest that some government TDs agree with the concerns I have raised. It is vital that they act on these concerns and ensure that the required changes are implemented. 

“Mere words to the media on this issue will not make a difference to survivors if government TDs fail to follow up with genuine action.

“It is not too late. The government can make the changes that are needed and they must.”

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