Event focuses on the unique needs of women and supports

By Maurice Garvey

THE plight of young mothers in Ballyfermot has been to the fore in the last couple of years, with the amount of suicides at one stage, reaching chronic levels in Cherry Orchard during the Summer of 2017.

Last year, a leaked HSE memo indicated there were up to 37 deaths by suspected suicide in Dublin South-Central in 2017, and 50 per cent of those were women.

Civic Ballyfermot 04

Clara Gemy, Catherine Lane, Aoife Heavey, Jackaline Sheehy and Audrey Harris at the event in the Civic Centre

When it comes to seeking help for substance abuse, young mothers are facing numerous difficult challenges, according to Catherine Lane, from the National Women's Council of Ireland.

“If a woman goes into treatment, what about her kids, are they allowed in to see her, that is a real concern for mothers,” said Ms Lane.

“The reality for a lot of women if they seek out services, is they could lose their kids. Along with things like domestic violence, poverty and housing, these are real fears, and things out there which are colliding for women.”

Ms Lane chaired an event in Ballyfermot on International Women’s Day last week, that focused on the unique needs of women and what supports could be implemented to help them.

The event was organised by Ballyfermot Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force, and drew a large crowd of men and women to the civic centre, to hear from a number of different speakers.

“It was a good mix (the crowd) and shows men and women working together, everybody trying to understand the challenges out there for women,” said Ms Lane.

“When you think of drugs and alcohol, you tend to think of men, but we are seeing more and more women.

“There is an over-reliance of medication (subscriptions), and young mothers are not seen as high risk. From what we are hearing, women are not being taken seriously when they go for help.”

The task force conference followed a series of events in community projects last week that celebrated local women, and culminated in a round table discussion.

Arts and crafts by local women were on display, along with information on services and supports.

Aoife Heavey was also in attendence at the event, a 16-year-old that had to find a way to box with a severe lack of facilities in her area. For more information on her, click HERE.

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