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Full Statutory Inquiry in Magdelene Laundries required – McDonald

15 June, 2011 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Fein Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD this morning secured a commitment from the Taoiseach that the Inter-department Committee tasked with a limited investigation into the treatment of women and children held in the Magdalene Laundries would report back to the Dáil within three months.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Whilst this decision by Government to set up the Inter-departmental Committee is, as the Justice for Magdalene’s group have stated, a welcome first step, it cannot be used as a mechanism to avoid the setting up of a full statutory inquiry as demanded by the UN Convention Against Torture. The Government’s failure to issue a formal apology to the women held in the Magdalene Laundries is deeply disappointing.

“As many as 30,000 women passed through the Magdalene Laundries in the period from 1922 to 1996. Women and children were held as prisoners and forced to work without pay. They were abused and many of the women had their children taken from them. Some became so institutionalised that they could never leave or function outside of the institution. The State was complicit in all of this, chose to look the other way and failed these women.

“Last year Minister Lynch when in opposition raised the issue of Bethany Home and the Magdalene Laundries exclusion from the Residential Institutional Redress Schemes with the previous Government, and called on Ministers ‘to do the decent thing and end this outrage’. The Minister is now in a position to ensure her Government does the decent thing.” ENDS

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