Pension and redress scheme must be part of Magdalene Laundries resolution – Adams
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has urged the government to go beyond an apology to the victims of the Magdalene Laundries and “include a commitment to ensuring that the well-being of the women, many of them now elderly, is a priority for the state; that the issue of pensions is resolved, and that an effective redress scheme will be put in place.”
The Sinn Féin leader called on the government to look at those other institutions, including Bethany Home, that were not part of the McAleese report “and propose a solution that meets the needs of the victims”.
Teachta Adams also pointed to other issues which have not been dealt with properly, including those women who were subject to the barbarous medical procedure of symphysiotomy.
The Sinn Féin leader said:
“The publication of the McAleese report documented evidence of the abuses and the denial of human rights in the Magdalene laundries.
“It also confirmed the state’s complicity in the detention of girls and women; in the routes of entry to these laundries; in the State inspection of these laundries, and in direct State funding.
“The 2009 Ryan Report had already detailed the forced unpaid labour, denial of liberty to women and significant physical and emotional abuse which took place in the laundries.
“I was disappointed by your initial response to Mary Lou McDonald’s invitation to you to apologise to the Magdalene women.
“But I very much welcome your meeting yesterday with survivors, and your commitment to them to apologise on behalf of the state during next week’s debate on this issue. This is an important step.
“I also suggest that the government make a commitment to ensuring that the well-being of the women, many of them now elderly, becomes a priority for the state; that the issue of pensions is resolved, and that an effective redress scheme will be put in place.
“It is also important to note that a number of Laundries, including Dun Laoghaire; Galway; Stanhope Street, and Summerhill in Wexford, were not included in the McAleese report.
“Bethany Home, to which girls and young women were also sent by the state, was excluded from its remit.
“The survivors of these institutions also faced abuse and hardship and suffered great injustice. There is now a huge opportunity to acknowledge what was done was wrong.
“This includes the barbarity of symphysiotomy. This issue has still not been resolved. The government now has a huge opportunity to make amends for what was done by others.”