Republican News · Thursday 24 August 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Fund women's support services - Mayo Sinn Féin

``There is an overwhelming case for increased funding and support for groups concerned with Women's refuge and Support Services here in Mayo.'' Says Vincent Wood, Mayo-based member of Sinn Féin's Ard Chomhairle.

Speaking at a recent meeting of Sinn Féin Connaught/Ulster Cúige's Gender Equality subgroup in Sligo, Wood was commenting on a recent report measuring the effectiveness of Women's Refuge and Support Services in the county.

``This report concludes that up to a quarter of Mayo women in relationships are experiencing domestic violence or abuse of one kind or another,'' he said. ``This is a disturbing statistic, but what is additionally worrying is that but for the existence of women's support groups, abuse of this kind would go unreported.''

``The work of such groups and the availability of resources such as the Mayo Rape Crisis Centre allows women the opportunity to make decisions about their particular circumstances and begin a process of self-empowerment. Opportunities that would not be open to them otherwise.''

``If the country really is awash with money, as Mary Harney recently boasted, then directing some of it towards a qualitative improvement in the personal circumstances of many women would be a just and deserving cause. Money should be made available for full-time councillors and outreach workers. The burden currently placed on volunteer workers in this field is intolerable.

``The findings of this report should be studied by all those with influence here in the county and beyond and adequate funding should be made available to implement its recommendations.''

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