Monday 17 June 2019

Sonas service to shut

Domestic violence charity to wrap up its Fitzwilliam Road operation

The Sonas building on Fitzwilliam Road.
The Sonas building on Fitzwilliam Road.

Myles Buchanan

Domestic violence charity Sonas will phase out its support service on Fitzwilliam Road in Wicklow town by mid-2019.

The service currently looks after seven families at the facility on Fitzwilliam Road. All other Sonas services are based in Dublin and the charity is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the Wicklow operation.

Sonas CEO Fiona Ryan said: 'Our clients are our priority and our decision to phase out this service next year was not taken lightly. As a relatively small organisation, all of whose services are based in Dublin with the exception of Wicklow, we have found it increasingly difficult to maintain the service operationally.

'We understand how anxiety provoking and stressful change can be, which is why we are taking a phased approach to our withdrawal of services. It is also why we prioritised communications with clients and met with them to discuss the decision and offer to meeting. They also have the ongoing support by an on site support worker

'In consideration of individuals' circumstances, we also waited to make our decision until the majority of clients had finished their 18 month support period with us and were due to move on through Wicklow County Council'.

Sonas moved into the building in 2013. Previously the premises on Fitzwilliam Road was to open in 2004 as a refuge for abused women and their children to be operated by Suaimhneas. However, the premises never officially opened and fell into a state of disrepair before Sonas moved in.

Ms Ryan added: 'We started providing services in Wicklow five years ago and are proud of the work we have been able to do supporting women and children. We have found it increasingly difficult operationally to continue to provide the service. The decision to phase out our Wicklow service was not taken lightly but we are doing so in a responsible and appropriate manner over a timescale. We will ensure existing clients are supported around any domestic violence-related needs they may have as they move on to other accommodation'.

The property on Fitzwilliam Road was provided by Wicklow County Council under a capital assistance scheme mortgage. The building transfers back to the local authority once Sonas services are phased out.

According to Cllr John Snell Wicklow County Council are already in talks for a replacement service.

'The phasing out of Sonas from Wicklow town will be a loss,' said Cllr Snell. 'Talks have taken place with the clients currently in situ at the facility. I know Wicklow County Council are also in dialogue over plans for the building which will also include the provision of a family orientated service'.

Wicklow People