Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Campaign group hoping for Magdalenes apology

A Magdalene Laundries Memorial PlaqueJustice for Magdalenes (JFM) has expressed hope that the McAleese report published later today will lead to an apology and redress for those who suffered in the Magdalene Laundries. 

The Government-commissioned report, which is to be published at 4pm, will outline the facts of State involvement in sending women to the laundries, but will not issue any recommendations.

It is over two years since the Irish Human Rights Commission recommended that a statutory inquiry and redress be put in place for Magdalene survivors. A similar call was made by the UN Committee Against Torture 18 months ago.

JFM, which has fought a 10-year campaign on the issue, expressed hope that the report will lead to an official apology from the State and the Catholic Church, and the establishment of a distinct compensation scheme for all Magdalene survivors.

JFM uncovered and published more than 50 examples of the State committing girls as young as 14 to laundries. It also submitted over 500 pages of newly gathered survivor testimony to the inter-departmental committee — testimony in which women say they were imprisoned in Magdalene Laundries and had worked without pay.

Claire McGettrick of JFM said the Government needs to establish a transparent compensation process for the women who were incarcerated in the Laundries.

“We are calling on the Government to establish a transparent and non-adversarial compensation process, that includes the provision of pensions, lost wages, health and housing services, as well as redress, and that is open to all survivors, putting their welfare at the forefront. Magdalene survivors have waited too long for justice and this should not be now burdened with either a complicated legal process or a closed-door policy of compensation,” she said.

Rachel Doyle of the National Women’s Council of Ireland said the organisation was standing in solidarity with the JFM campaign and reiterated its call for State apology and a compensation scheme to be set up.

“We call on Government as those charged with the responsibility to ensure that justice and human rights prevail, to bring justice and a sense of peace to the women involved,” she said.

“The least that these women deserve in their older years, is an apology from the state and compensation for their years of servitude and abuse.”

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