December 11, 2019
Mark Ward TD calls on Fine Gael to support Domestic Violence leave legislation

Newly elected Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid West Mark Ward today called on the government to support Sinn Féin’s domestic violence paid leave legislation.

Speaking in the Dáil during today’s statements on Domestic Violence, Deputy Ward said:

“Ireland’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention was a landmark for victims of domestic and gender-based violence and abuse. Domestic abuse remains rife in Irish society. Worse still it continues to be shrouded in shame.

“Data published this week by safe Ireland tells us that nine requests for refuge accommodation went unmet every day last year because services will full.

“In my own work I have seen first-hand the incredible work of Saoirse Women’s Refuge in Tallaght. Yet this fantastic service could not accommodate 287 families last year because the refuge was full. As a result of state underfunding Saoirse have to rely on fundraising for the general upkeep of their premises. This puts added pressure on an already over worked organisation.

“Sinn Féin’s alternative budget included an additional €11.8m for capital investment to provide for additional refuge places and domestic violence housing support services for 2020, and we are committed to increase funding for refuge accommodation and specialised supports over the next three years to meet Ireland’s obligations under the Istanbul Convention.

“Saoirse have highlighted the stress a woman has to go through in the legal system. Obtaining a safety order and attending court can add to the trauma already endured by victims. They have no privacy; no space and they often feel unsafe. A simple, humane solution to this would be to allow a video link from the refuge to the family law court to apply for a safety order.

“Victims also need time off work to attend court dates, secure alternative accommodation or attend a GP or Counsellor.

“Last week Sinn Féin introduced legislation that provides for a statutory entitlement to 10 days domestic violence paid leave. This employment rights provision would give victims the time they need to seek support and also addresses unpredictable absenteeism and reduced productivity for employers.

“Victims have a right to a pathway out of abuse without fear of losing their jobs. As legislators it is our responsibility to deliver on that right and to ensure the supports and services victims access are in place and properly resourced.” 

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