Wednesday, September 30, 2009

O'Keeffe sorry for Magdalen remark

MINISTER FOR Education Batt O’Keeffe has apologised for using the word “employees” to describe women who had been resident in Magdalen laundries throughout Ireland up to the mid-1990s.

In a letter to Dublin South TD Tom Kitt he expressed deep regret for “any offence caused by my use of the term ‘employees’ when referring to these women”.

He added: “I fully acknowledge that the word ‘workers’ would have been more appropriate.”

Earlier this month in a letter to Mr Kitt, who had made representations concerning former residents of the laundries, the Minister made the point that “in terms of establishing a distinct scheme for former employees of the Magdalen laundries, the situation in relation to children who were taken into the laundries privately or who entered the laundries as adults is quite different to persons who were resident in State-run institutions.”

In the same letter the Minister said former residents of the laundries were not eligible for compensation from the Residential Institutions Redress Board.

“The Magdalen laundries were privately-owned and operated establishments which did not come within the responsibility of the State.

“The State did not refer individuals to the Magdalen laundries nor was it complicit in referring individuals to them,” Mr O’Keeffe said.
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