On Monday, Justice Minister Helen McEntee visited the offices of the Esker House Domestic Abuse Support Service on Mardyke Street in Athlone.

Minister McEntee was there to announce that Esker House was being awarded €101,903 in funding from a €3 million Community Safety Innovation Fund, and that this money would be used by the local service to deliver a domestic abuse community awareness and training project.

“This is an absolutely fantastic project that will see (Esker House) reach out to some of the larger businesses in the town, to hairdressers, salons, linking in with pharmacies and many others, to raise awareness of domestic violence and to spot the signs, to make sure people working in those sectors perhaps can reach out to help people in the community,” said the Minister.

“This has the potential to expand much further beyond Athlone and that’s why it was a successful project,” she added.

“Overall the community safety innovation fund will spend over €3m this year, funding projects right across the country, where the sole focus and target is community safety. This is money that has been seized by CAB – it’s criminal assets that will be put directly back into communities.”

Esker House is a service provided by Athlone Community Services Council.

Speaking this week, Deirdre Berry, Head of Esker House Services, said: “We are thrilled to receive this funding. We have very strong links within our community, and we are delighted to be able to provide this essential training to create safer communities and homes.”

Anyone in the Midlands region who would like to receive training or information about the project can contact: info@eskerhouse.ie or call 0906474122.

Ms Berry added: “We are currently searching for an appropriate site to purchase to build a purpose-built domestic violence and abuse (DVA) response facility.

“This will encompass 8 refuge units, community support and legal support services, specialised child and youth services and training and community engagement spaces.”

Esker House has a 24-hour helpline for women and children subjected to domestic abuse. The number is: 09064 74122.

This article was first published in The Westmeath Independent, Tuesday 17th October 2023.

Are you or someone you know experiencing domestic violence or abuse?
Call our Helpline 24/7
on 1800 662 288


For further information or support around domestic violence, you or someone you know is experiencing.

Dr Dobbs Memorial Home, Northgate St., Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Call our 24/7 Helpline on 1800 662 288
Email us 24/7 at info@eskerhouse.ie
Call 090 647 4122, Monday-Friday 9-5

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