Centre for at-risk women shut down
Campaigners fighting to save a drop-in centre that assisted vulnerable women have told of their dismay after the service was shut down yesterday morning as they were out protesting.
The facility in Tralee, Co Kerry, which helped more than 2,500 women last year, offered services for vulnerable women including domestic abuse victims, those dealing with crisis pregnancies, and women in the town’s direct provision centre.
The drop-in centre, which received funding from the HSE and Tusla, was run by a voluntary board of directors.
The campaign group Save our Women’s Resource Centre was set up after it was announced last month that the centre would close on December 6 because its services were duplicated elsewhere.
Janjua, who set up the campaign, said they were protesting yesterday morning when they heard the board had shut down the centre, which had been in operation for more than two decades.
“The centre supported women who had experienced violShahidah ence or rape, women with homelessness, benefits, a whole range of issues,” said the Kerry-based writer.
“Women have been absolutely gutted by the news of this. It’s an immense loss. Last year, 2,500 [women] crossed the threshold. There has been such a groundswell of dismay and anger.
“We had marched [yesterday morning] to the HSE community service building and protested outside of it.
“We were going to go down to the women’s centre when we discovered the board had been there at 11.30am and taken the keys and the workers were gone.”
The HSE said in a statement that the closure was “a decision solely for the company directors”, adding that it was supportive of the decision.
“In this regard, the HSE has been advised by Tralee Women’s Forum CLG that they are closing following a review of the organisation,” it said. “The HSE would like to acknowledge and pay tribute to the work of Tralee Women’s Resource Centre over the years.”
Sinn Féin councillor Toiréasa Ferris said the HSE was one of the major funders of the centre.
“A number of HSE staff members are on the voluntary board of directors. For the HSE to try and divorce themselves from the decision to close the centre is disingenuous.”
She claimed the campaign couldn’t secure a meeting with the board of directors in recent weeks despite numerous attempts.
Shahidah Janjua protesting the closure of the Women’s Resource Centre in Tralee, Co Kerry.