Fresh fears for future of county’s Safe Link

There are renewed fears that Roscommon Safe Link, which treats those subjected to domestic abuse and family violence, will face closure at the beginning of next year because of a funding shortfall.

  The Boyle-based clinic is the only specialist service in Co. Roscommon for those abused at home and last year alone, they had over 1,900 appointments with women, men and children.

  However, they have had funding problems this year.

  The service had previously been funded on a yearly basis, receiving €102,000 last year, but since last February, it has been funded monthly by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, who is run by the State.

  In July, they faced a complete cut. However, following a campaign, Tusla agreed to continue to fund them on a monthly basis until the end of 2015, with a 10 per cent cut on the €102,000.

  They have no guarantee, though, of any State funding for 2016. This greatly concerns Roscommon Safe Link’s manager, Patricia O’Reilly.

  “It leaves us on very shaky ground,” she said. “It leaves us concerned for our clients and it leaves the staff with very low morale really.

  “We are coming up to the end of the year now and where are we with planning for next year? We don’t know if we will function at all.”

  Domestic violence has been to the forefront of the news agenda recently, following the death of Garda Tony Golden in Omeath, Co. Louth. He was dealing with a domestic incident when he was shot dead.

  Ms O’Reilly said that an incident such as that makes the current threat to Roscommon Safe Link even harder to comprehend.

  “For a critical service, particularly after what happened in Louth with Garda Tony Golden, it’s crazy,” she said. “I am quite angry that we, in Co. Roscommon, were singled out to get our funding cut.”

  Ms O’Reilly asked Tusla to provide the service with long-term security.

  “We are looking for some sort of guarantee,” she said. “Ideally, we would like to have a three-year service level agreement.”

  Tusla are unable to provide such a commitment at this stage.

  A spokesperson said: “Having received its allocated funding for 2016, Tusla will continue its commitment to improvement of services and intends to do so in an open and inclusive manner.

  “The budget for 2016 has not yet been decided.”