Wednesday, February 06, 2013

UN committee member calls for compensation

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-tctVQkd6l64/TY_ZtWlBXSI/AAAAAAAAPHk/1tGN-kNz9as/s1600/FeliceGaer.jpegA leading member of the UN Committee Against Torture has said the Government should compensate the survivors of the laundries.

Felice Gaer welcomed the State's acknowledgement that it had responsibility for the laundries and that there were far more women who were sent there involuntarily than the Government had previously admitted.

Ms Gaer is vice-chair of the UN Committee on Torture, whose calls for an independent inquiry into the laundries prompted the Government to commission the report.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, she said the Government had an obligation to provide redress to the surviving victims.

The committee, which was chaired by Dr Martin McAleese, also reported that coroners do not appear to have been notified of deaths in the laundries for some years leading up to 1996.

The inquiry into State involvement with the laundries said that end-of-life issues relating to the 879 women who died in the institutions since 1922 are of central importance to its work.

The report recalls that the 1962 Coroner's Act made it obligatory to report a death to a coroner where there was a doubt as to its cause.

It noted that GPs were forbidden to certify a death if it was sudden, unexpected, suspicious or unnatural.

Instead, they were obliged to notify the coroner for the district in which the death occurred.

But the committee said that from the limited information available to it, which relates to the latter part of the period it was investigating, it appears there were no such notifications of deaths in the laundries.

The committee said the obligation to notify the coroner also applied to undertakers or any person in charge of an institution or premises where the person who died was residing at the time of their death.

The coroner decides whether the death can be certified without further action, whether a post mortem is required, or whether a post mortem and inquest are required.

Approximately 8% of the women and girls who entered eight laundries between 1922 and 1996 died in them.

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