THE HSE has provided € 87 million in the past five years to three of the four religious congregations that ran the Magdalene laundries between 1922 and 1996, according to Minister for Health Dr James O’Reilly.
He disclosed the figure in response to a question from Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.
He found it “astonishing” and said it contrasted “sharply with the State’s treatment of the women imprisoned in these institutions, who received no pay for their years of work, are in receipt of no pension and were excluded from the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme”.
If the State could “pay € 20 million per year to the orders who ran the laundries, it can certainly give the women who survived them their due”, he said.
In 2006 the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters of Charity and the Good Shepherd Sisters received a total of €5.8 million from the HSE for health services provided.
That rose to €19.6 million in 2007, to €20.09 million in 2008, €20.4 million in 2009, and was €19.68 million in 2010.
Absent from the HSE list are the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, who also ran Magdalene laundries.
The Mater hospital in Dublin is run by the Sisters of Mercy while St Vincent’s is a Sisters of Charity hospital.
The Sisters of Mercy are also key providers of education in the State with involvement in more than 60 pre-schools, primary schools and secondary schools.
They have associations with four community schools and long involvement with Mary Immaculate College in Limerick.
Following publication of the Ryan report in May 2009, each of the 18 congregations that ran residential institutions for children investigated by Ryan, including the four that also ran Magdalene laundries, agreed to contribute 50 per cent of the €1.36 billion cost to the State of redress for people who had been in the institutions as children.
To date the contribution of the congregations is € 476.51 million, leaving more than € 200 million to reach their € 680 million share.
Last April Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn indicated that the Government was to ask the congregations to hand over titles to property worth up to € 200 million, to make up the shortfall.
Two of the 18 congregations indicated they had no resources at all to contribute. They are the Rosminians and the Good Shepherd Sisters. The latter have received more than €14.4 million from the HSE since 2006.
The State and congregations agreed to set aside € 110 million for late applicants for redress, which could include Magdalene women.