Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Magdalene survivors demand report

Survivors of the Magdalene Laundries have appealed to the Government not to allow another year go by without redress for their suffering.

The Justice for Magdalenes group said it was disappointed that 2012 had come to an end without publication of the final report of a committee established 18 months ago to examine state involvement with the laundries

Minister of State for Justice Kathleen Lynch told the Dáil three months ago the report would be made public by the end of December at the latest.

A Sinn Féin motion calling for an immediate apology to the Magdalenes was defeated, with government parties saying it would be premature without the final report. Justice for Magdalenes spokeswoman Claire McGettrick said that the delay in meaningful government action was prolonging the survivors’ suffering.

“We’re told there is a process under way into examining who was responsible which is fine but our argument all along has been that the apology should have come at the beginning of that process.

“The women deserve that apology. We know there was abuse in the laundries, there is no question of that. And we know the state was complicit at least by neglect if nothing else.”

Four Catholic religious orders ran 10 Magdalene laundries around the country between 1922 and 1996, taking in unmarried pregnant women and girls and others considered wayward, using their free labour to run commercial laundries and having their babies adopted, often outside of Ireland. 

Thousands passed through the system and survivors tell of regimes of abuse, deprivation, incarceration and forced adoptions.

Justice for Magdalenes was formed 10 years ago after the Magdalenes were excluded from the Residential Institutions Redress Board set up to provide redress for the thousands of children in industrial schools and other state-licensed residential institutions.

Ms McGettrick said any further delay in addressing the Magdalenes’ equally pressing claims was unfair. “It’s cynical if they are made wait any longer. These women are an elderly group of women, most of them, and they just do not have time..”

The Department of Justice said it expected to receive the final report into the matter very soon.

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