Urgent funding is needed to save Inishowen's only domestic violence service for women and children.

Representatives of Lifeline Inishowen will travel to Leinster House this week to deliver a petition calling for urgent funding to save it from closure.

Lifeline Inishowen is a domestic violence service which provides support to some of the most vulnerable women in the area and their children.

The centre helped over 46 women last year who were victims of domestic violence and abuse.

The future of the Carndonagh-based service is in doubt as Lifeline has received no HSE funding since 2010. Management say that a small fund is provided by Tusla each year for their Child Counselling service, but they have to rely on fundraisers and their charity shop to sustain the rest.

A petition was recently launched to gain 1,000 signatures calling on Tusla and Minister for Children Katherine Zappone to provide funding and save Lifeline from closure.

Lifeline Manager Mary Doherty and women who have used the services are expected to present the petition to the Minister on Wednesday 26th June. A demonstration will be held on Kildare Street from 1pm.

The only alternative domestic violence support service in Donegal is the Donegal Women’s Centre. However, it is a 120km round-trip for Carndonagh families to access the centre in Letterkenny.

Mary Doherty, manager of the centre, said she feared that people are not going to be able to make the journey to Letterkenny and will have to remain in the abusive relationships that they are in.

In the petition, a spokesperson for Lifeline said the situation could mean life-or-death: “Minister Zappone and TUSLA, we demand that the funding for Lifeline Inishowen’s running costs is reinstated. The centralisation of domestic abuse services in a big, rural county like Donegal is disastrous for families in Inishowen. Closure of Lifeline will literally put lives at risk. Reinstate the funding to secure the future of these essential services in Inishowen.”