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State turned a blind eye to suffering of vulnerable - then and now – Cullinane

7 June, 2011

Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has demanded action on the recommendations contained in the report of the UN Commitee against Torture, which highlighted the need for an enquiry into the Magdalene Laundries, and for an apology from the state.

Speaking in the Seanad today, Senator Cullinane said

“Many of these women were effectively incarcerated, held against their will, and suffered untold abuse and harm over the course of many years.

“The survivors of the Laundries are an ageing group, they should receive justice as a matter of urgency, and we cannot allow any more time to pass.

“But we must also go further than an apology.

“The call for an investigation supports the long-standing calls for such an inquiry from Justice for Magdalenes, from my party and from many others. I ask the leader for a debate on the need for an inquiry in to these abuses, which cause revulsion and disgust in the hearts of the Irish people. We need to ensure that these women see the regret of the Irish state, and get effective redress, and to have the perpetrators prosecuted.”

Senator Cullinane also stated that the state must also face up to the reality that its most vulnerable young people continued to be neglected today.

“I was shocked and disgusted to learn that, according to the 'One Child International' organisation as many as 500 children who were under direct state supervision, the state’s responsibility, were missing. Some of these have been found to have ended up in Brothels and private households.

“Later on this evening we will be discussing the Special Rapporteur on child protection’s report. The special rapporteur states that we have a particular responsibility in ensuring child trafficking doesn’t happen here. Yet what do we have here, is but the modern day equivalent of the Magdalene laundries. The most vulnerable in our society, being ignored, because the establishment thinks it can afford to ignore them; ''out of sight, out of mind''.

“If we are serious about the rights of our citizens, and if we are serious about making good for the neglect of a previous generation, we must take action on this issue.”

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