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25/09/2021

'Put in FOI request about Tusla report,' councillor says as women's refuge frustrations grow

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Carlow Carlow Carlow

Members have still not seen the report

Councillors have hit out at Tusla and demanded that they be shown a report which the Child and Family Agency is relying on to claim that there is no demand for a women's refuge in Carlow. 

In January, it was revealed that Tusla don't believe there is a need for a women's refuge in the county, which caused some shock among the local representatives. 

Council chief executive, Kathleen Holohan, said that Tusla's interpretation of a report on demand for such services in the South East is that there is no need for a refuge in Carlow. 

"Their interpretation of the research is that there isn't a necessity in Carlow for a refuge but what's required are safe houses, which is different to a refuge," the CEO told members last month. 

Councillors called for the report that Tusla is basing its decision on to be made public. 

Cllr Will Paton again raised the issue at this month's meeting of Carlow Municipal District and told the meeting that members had still not seen the report. 

A recent report called "Homelessness in Carlow 2018" found that Carlow women and children fleeing violent homes are accommodated in refuges in Kildare and Dublin, and that "some end up on the streets of Dublin".

The report was commissioned by the Carlow County Development Partnership and written by Dr Brendan O'Keeffe.

In response to Cllr Paton, Director of Services, Michael Brennan, said the local authority are seeking the report and it is "a matter for Tusla to release it". 

Cllr John Cassin said he was "hugely concerned" about the issue and asked that the Council "put in a Freedom of Information request about the Tusla report as a Council". 

"I'd like to see somebody come down from Tusla and show us the report, the facts are the facts," he added. 

Mr Brennan said they will contact Tusla and "we can ask for it, but we can't make them give it". 

The Council are expected to call on Tusla to hold a meeting so officials can explain their position to the relevant stakeholders in the area. 

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