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Time is of the essence, Magdalene survivors must receive apology – O’Brien

15 June, 2011 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice Jonathan O’Brien TD has given a broad welcome to the proposed interdepartmental group which will inquire into the state involvement in the running of Magdalene Laundries.

However Deputy O’Brien expressed disappointment at the apparent delay stating “time is of the essence” for these women.

Deputy O’Brien called for an immediate apology to the survivors.

“I welcome the fact that the Government are finally taking action on this issue. It is not before time.

“I am disappointed that the inquiry falls short of that recommended by the UN Committee Against Torture. I am also disappointed that the Government did not take the opportunity to apologise to the victims.

“There is an abundance of evidence, already in existence that shows the state’s complicity in what went on in the Magdalene Laundries, where so-call “way-ward” women were incarcerated without pay in many cases for their entire lives.

“The Magdalene laundries were given direct state contracts and in some instances were used as remand centres. Many were transferred from industrial schools or were sent as court alternatives to prison. Gardaí were directly involved capturing those who managed to escape.

“As I stated before the absolute priority here must be an apology, from the state and from the religious orders who ran the institution. An apology costs nothing but is worth so much. Time is of the essence. There is no reason that this could not happen immediately.”

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