Members of the Magdalene Survivors Together group are to meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin this afternoon.
head Steven O’Riordan said he is “delighted that the women are been
given a chance to be heard.
This is a hugely important step for the
women. We hope that this will ultimately lead to an official apology".
Sullivan, survivor of the Magdalene laundries and member of Magdalene
Survivors Together, said: “I never thought this day would come that I
would be invited to meet the leader of our country. Clearly this man
wants to know what he can do for us and it is my intention to make it
clear to him what we want. It’s a State apology.”
In all, five women from Magdalene Survivors Together will meet Mr Kenny.
Justice for Magdalenes, another organisation representing survivors of
laundries run by religious orders, has sought clarification as to the
purpose of the meeting today, which Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore is also due
Spokeswoman for Justice for Magdalenes Claire
McGettrick last night said the Taoiseach and Tánaiste knew what the
issues were and that the women wanted an apology and compensation.
said the organisation had a survivor-centred ethos and, following
communication from the Taoiseach’s department on Friday about the
meeting, they sought clarification about its purpose and agenda.
McGettrick said it was very important to note that while the report
said 26.5 per cent of the women were in the laundries through State
involvement, that figure did not take account of those returned to the
laundries by gardaí when they escaped, the financial interactions of the
State or official inspections.
Ms McGettrick denied reports that
they were snubbing the meeting. She said the women were elderly and
private and issues such as media glare were important. When the women
met the report committees chairman, then senator Martin McAleese, they
were afforded privacy and wanted assurance on this in writing from the
Taoiseach’s department, she added.
As pressure mounts on Mr Kenny
to issue a full State apology, he and Mr Gilmore will meet the
representative organisations at Government Buildings to discuss their
concerns in the wake of the report’s publication last week.
Fáil will introduce a private member’s motion tomorrow night calling
for an immediate and unqualified apology to some 1,000 women still alive
and for the establishment of a dedicated unit to administer a redress
Mr Kenny is also expected to face further Opposition
questions following his failure to issue an apology to the woman after
the report indicated significant State involvement in the laundries.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has given the clearest signal yet that there will be a State apology.
am absolutely confident that all these matters will be addressed . . .
to the full satisfaction of the women involved, who are the front and
centre of our concern,” he said.
Mr Howlin, who was speaking on
RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, described the laundries as a “shameful
episode in our history; one of the many shameful episodes . . . we all
want to put behind us now”.