By BRIAN MOORE
WEST Cork Women Against Violence (WCWAV) – a support group for victims of domestic violence – based in Bantry, has been awarded almost €90,000 by the Mary Daly Fund.
The money will help the group move towards creating its ultimate goal – a safe haven for women and children fleeing violent situations.
The support group, which offers a free and confidential support, listening and information service to women all across West Cork, are to be the final recipients of aid from the philanthropic fund.
The Mary Daly Fund, which has help numerous local charity causes, community groups and business start-ups, was set up over 30 years ago by Irish-American Charles Daly, in honour of his late wife Mary.
‘Mary, who loved Bantry and spent her last days here, was totally against violence in any form,’ Charles told The Southern Star. ‘As we close the fund after 30 years, I know that Mary would approve of this final grant and we feel it is a fitting way to remember her.’
Charles (or ‘Chuck’ as he is fondly known), turns 90 this year and was once a presidential aid to President John F Kennedy. He received two Silver Stars for bravery during the Korean War and a Purple Heart when he was shot and almost killed on his birthday, in 1951.
‘Mary Daly was a woman who shared our values and we are delighted and honoured to receive this very substantial donation of ,000,’ WCWAC chairperson Kathleen Harnedy said. ‘These funds will enable us to plan and to provide much-needed services to women and their children who are experiencing violence in their homes here in West Cork. The Mary Daly Fund grant gives us the opportunity to introduce new services and extend existing ones, allowing us to focus on the future and our vision of a safe place for women and children fleeing domestic violence in West Cork.’
The Mary Daly Fund, which was set up in 1987 and was part of the Ireland America Funds, awarded its first grant of £1,000 to Future Forests based in Kealkil, a company that has since gone on to worldwide fame.
‘Over the years the fund has helped organisations from all aspects of life here in Bantry and beyond,’ Fund co-ordinator in Bantry, Sean O’Luasa said. ‘From care for the elderly, to sports organisations and educational groups. I am sure the fund will be remembered for all the great work it has done down through the years.’
‘This incredible donation gives us breathing space,’ Marie Mulholland coordinator at WCWAV said. ‘But the really exciting aspect, of this for us, is that we will be able to look at developing new initiatives. We can now, not only plan supports, but have the funds to enable us to seriously look at implementing programmes and supports which are much-needed in West Cork.’
One of these projects that Marie and her staff at the WCWAV would like to see developed is a safe place, a refuge for women and children who are forced to leave their homes due to domestic violence.
‘While this money will not be used to physically start up a domestic violence refuge, the funds will enable us to work towards providing this service, sooner rather than later,’ Marie concluded.