THE State's "significant" involvement in the admission of young girls and women to Magdalene Laundries contradicts previous claims by the Government that the "vast majority" entered on a voluntary basis or with parental consent.
Two years ago Sean Aylward, inset, then Secretary General of the Department of Justice, told the United Nations
Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) that the vast majority of women who
went to Laundries "went there voluntarily or, if they were minors, with
the consent of their parents or guardians".
But the report of the
Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC) to establish the facts of State
involvement with the Magdalene Laundries found that more than a quarter
of referrals were made or facilitated by the State.
At the examination of the Irish Government's record in Geneva
on May 24, 2011, acting UNCAT chairperson Felice Gaer questioned Mr
Aylward's statement about voluntary consent.
The intensive series of
questions followed a report submitted to UNCAT by the Justice for
Magdalenes (JFM), who claimed that the "Irish state was complicit in the
incarceration of women and girls" in the laundries, where the women
worked without pay.
Mr Aylward told the committee that the only
situation where women were ordered to be detained at the centres by law
related to just one institution in Dublin, which was used as a remand
centre and subject to inspection by the State.