Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Survivors of Magdalene Laundries once again 'disappointed'

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SURVIVORS of the Magdalene Laundries have told how they feel let down by the report and the State.

Steven Riordan, spokesman for Magdalene Survivors Together, said the women wanted an apology from both Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the religious orders involved in the Magdalene Laundries.

Mr Riordan said a compensation scheme should be put in place for the survivors as they were "denied their constitutional rights". 

He was speaking after meeting with Senator Martin McAleese to get a first look at the 1,000-plus page report. 

"The reality is we forced women in Irish society to participate in slavery," he said. "The women never got the opportunities it was said they would get by entering these institutions. The constitutional rights of these women were completely obliterated."

Mr Riordan said Mr Kenny's use of the phrase "sorry they lived in that environment" was pointless. He said the women and Irish society deserve an apology.

"He was capable of criticising the Catholic Church," he said. "Those comments from Enda Kenny were a cop out."

Maureen O'Sullivan, from Co Carlow, said it was now about the State doing the "right thing".

Ms O'Sullivan said "that was not an apology, we are calling for an apology". 

Survivors have been campaigning for the last 10 years for an apology from state and church and a transparent compensation scheme.

Religious orders the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity ran laundries at Drumcondra and Sean MacDermott Street in Dublin, the Sisters of Mercy in Galway and Dun Laoghaire, the Religious Sisters of Charity in Donnybrook, Dublin, and Cork, and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Limerick, Cork, Waterford and New Ross.

The last laundry, Sean MacDermott Street in Dublin's north inner city, closed in 1996.

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), an advocacy group, said it is aware of at least 988 women who are buried in laundry plots in cemeteries across Ireland and therefore must have stayed for life.

The inquiry could only certify 879.

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