The Taoiseach was branded a “disgrace” by Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald for his failure to apologise to the residents of Magdalene Laundries “and for the State’s role in their incarceration in these brutal institutions”.
Ms McDonald said the report
establishes “direct State involvement” in the operations of 10 laundries
by four religious orders — the last of which closed in the 1990s.
of the day oversaw the unpaid forced labour endured by the young girls
and women who worked in the laundries without pay or proper care,” said
“Courts placed women and girls in the laundries. Gardaí returned those who sought to escape.”
the manner of compensation requires consideration, “the absolute need
for a full apology does not”, Ms McDonald told the Dáil.
is of the essence for the surviving women. They are elderly and many are
unwell. They have lived with the stigma of the Magdalene Laundries and
the brutality they experienced during their incarceration for their
“The Taoiseach spoke of the courage of the women
coming forward to tell their true stories; I only wish that their
courage was matched today by some courage on the Government’s part.”
Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman, Niall Collins, called for redress for the victims.
worked quite hard in these institutions for no compensation of
remuneration, so there is definitely a case for a form of redress.
that form takes can be debated, but certainly something that will
address the concerns of the Justice for Magdalene groups would be
uppermost in people’s minds.”
Mr Collins also said that “as a society we have to apologise” because there was obvious State collusion.
He said it is not good enough for the Government to simply welcome the report.
“It’s time to have a whole comprehensive response from Government and I’m disappointed that we haven’t had that today.”