Women and children at risk with closure of Cuan Álainn this month

By Laura Lyne

A VITAL stepdown service for women and children fleeing domestic violence in Tallaght is set to close its doors for the final time this month despite efforts by local politicians and groups to keep it open.

The Cuan Álainn homeless refuge for women and children fleeing domestic violence, based in Springfield, stopped taking in families back in September following an announcement that it would be forced to close due to a lack of funding.

Cuan Alainn resized

It was opened back in 2012 and has been fully funded by Respond! Housing Association, with almost €1 million spent funding the refuge since its opening – 71 women and 96 children were supported and housed in that time.

Since the announcement, its lack of funding and imminent closure has been raised by local deputies in the Dáil and presented to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James Reilly, by the Child and Family Agency.

Elaine Burnett (pictured below), manager of Cuan Álainn Tallaght told The Echo: “There’s simply no funding available. We have three people left at the moment and we’re working with Tusla to provide them with accommodation and a safe place by Christmas.

Elaine Burnett Cuan Alainn resized

“We hope to have everyone accommodated by Christmas and then we have until January 15 to come into the office and clear out everything.

“Four permanent staff, including myself, are being made redundant. I have been with Respond for over 12 years so they would have kept me on if they could.

“It’s going to be a bittersweet Christmas. There’s going to be an empty building here which is only three years old and that we don’t know the plans for.”

“We stopped taking in families in September as it would have been nearly impossible to help any more families find accommodation.

“People have been so supportive in helping us find accommodation for the families that were with us.

Elaine also praised the community of Tallaght for its support in the three years that Cuan Álainn has been based in Tallaght.

She said: “I just want to say that Tallaght is a fantastic community and since we’ve been here we’ve created so many links throughout the community.

“An Cosán has been a great help, along with Killinarden Family Resource Centre – they’ve been two of the major players in helping us along the way.

“Schools in Tallaght that we’ve worked with have also been great, with one in particular going above and beyond for us.

“The community of Tallaght looks after its people and groups have been giving great support to us and to the families here.”

 

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