By Cate McCurry, PA
The justice minister said she is confident the state will surpass some of its early targets to increase the number of domestic violence refuge spaces.
Helen McEntee said her department secured more funding in the budget and is able to help increase the number of refuge spaces, particularly in counties that at present have none.
Ms McEntee said the long-term plan was to ensure every county had refuge spaces for domestic violence victims, and has promised that the state will provide 100 more spaces by the end of next year.
Earlier this year, Ms McEntee unveiled plans to increase the spaces across the country.
Speaking on Friday at a cross-border event to address gender-based violence and abuse, Ms McEntee said: “In terms of our overall objective, very clearly it is to double our number of refuge places by the end of this strategy, which is a five-year strategy.
“I had set it out in three phases, and the first is where we have projects that are already under way, that we want to bring on stream.
“Second is working with organisations and counties where we have no refuge and accommodation and helping them progress and filling further gaps.
“I am confident we will surpass some of our initial figures in the first stage and thankfully I was able to secure additional funding in the budget which means we have funding to be able to work with those counties in other areas to help them make progress in bringing about refuge in their counties.
“There is a lot of work still to do so I am confident we will reach our targets.”
There are around nine counties in Ireland that do not have dedicated domestic violence refuges.
The Istanbul Convention says there should be one family place for every 10,000 of population, by which calculation Ireland should have 476 family refuge places.
Based on this figure, Ireland provides less than 30 per cent.
An accommodation review, carried out by Tusla, found for Ireland to reach 70 per cent, an additional 198 family places would be needed.
To achieve 100 per cent, a further 335 family places would be required.