Aoibhneas Women and Children’s Refuge was established in 1988 to respond to the needs of women
and children suffering domestic violence in their home.
In 1988, Dublin Corporation provided Aoibhneas with a three bedroomed flat in Ballymun to carry out its work.
In 1994, Dublin Corporation made notification of a decision to grant planning permission to Aoibhneas for apurpose built 10 unit facility for families fleeing their home through domestic violence.
On the 21st April 1997 Aoibhneas Women’s Refuge was officially opened by President Mary Robinson.
History of aoibhneas women & children's refuge
In 1986, a group of local people did research as part of a FÁS Community Development and Leadership Course. They identified a need for a short term Refuge for women and children who were forced to leave their homes because of domestic violence. It was in the Refuge (the only Refuge in Dublin at the time) where they gained first-hand experience of the problems facing women and children seeking Refuge from violence.
In 1987, Ballymun Women’s Refuge Group applied to Dublin Corporation for a 3 bedroomed flat. They also applied to FAS for a Social Employment Scheme which would enable them to employ workers for the Refuge.
On the 11th January 1988, Ballymun Women’s Refuge Group was allocated a flat on Sillogue Road,
Ballymun, as an overnight crisis centre and referral agency. On the 13th June 1988, the Refuge employed workers
for the first time, on a Social Employment Scheme. The workers were given 6 weeks training in basic counselling
skills. On the 20th July the Refuge held an Open Day. All the local agencies, social services, gardai, etc. were
invited to the launch of the service. At this time the Refuge was open from 10pm – 12 noon, 5 days a week. There
was not enough staff to open on a 24 hour basis. The Refuge provided crisis counselling, support, legal information,
emergency overnight accommodation and referral to other agencies.
It took a few weeks before the service got off the ground. On the 21st August 1988, the service had the first woman stay overnight. From that day on, the Refuge has gone from strength to strength.
Aoibhneas ran for the first two years on a Social Employment Scheme. In 1990, the Eastern Health Board gave part funding for that year. Since then the Eastern Health Board has given part funding on a yearly basis.
On the 23rd January 1991, Aoibhneas was granted ‘Approved Status’ under the Department of the Environment
Voluntary Housing Scheme. Aoibhneas up to recently was the only Refuge on the Northside of Dublin.
In 1991, Dublin Corporation allocated the flat next door to the Refuge to be used as second stage housing for women and children who have stayed long-term in the Refuge and are waiting to be re-housed. On the 4th of December, 1991, President Mary Robinson officially opened this extension to the Refuge. All women who had availed of our service were invited back for this historic occasion.
In September 1993, plans for a new purpose built Refuge, which would accommodate 10 families at a time,
were submitted to Dublin Corporation.
On the 18th January 1994, Dublin Corporation made notification of a decision to grant planning permission to Aoibhneas. Aoibhneas, the purpose built Refuge is located in Coolock and has accommodated thousands of women and children over the years.
Aoibhneas, the purpose built Refuge is located in Coolock and has accommodated thousands of women and children over the years.