Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has called on the Justice Minister to clarify when legislation will be introduced to provide health services to surviving women of the Magdalene Laundries and if this legislation will provide for women living outside the state who wish to access services in their country of residence.
The Dublin Central TD said;
“Yet again another international body has raised the degrading, violent and ‘slave-like’ treatment of women incarcerated in the Magdalene laundries. A report published by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has called on the Vatican to launch a full investigation into the treatment of women and girls in the Magdalene Laundries.
“Just last year the UN Convention Against Torture again raised the inadequacy of inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalene Laundries. The Committee did not have the power to compel evidence and its investigation was limited to a small number of institutions.
“Of equal concern is the government’s failure to deliver health services to the limited number of surviving women who can access the redress scheme and are living outside the state. The Quirke redress scheme recommendations include access to health services.
“Justice Minister Alan Shatter committed to work with the Department of Health to introduce the necessary legislation to provide these services to the surviving women, including those who currently live outside the state.
“Waiver documents have been sent to eligible women accessing the Magdalene Redress Scheme, and these waivers state that these elderly and often impoverished survivors will only be able to access public health services within the state. This can only be interpreted as a slight of hand by government.
“Both the Justice and Health Ministers need to make a joint statement detailing by what date the women will be able to access health services and to clarify if those survivors living outside the state will be able to access medical supports in their country of residence.”