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Mac Lochlainn welcomes Taoiseach’s apology to women of Magdalene Laundries

19 February, 2013 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Speaking following the Taoiseach’s apology to the women who were incarcerated in the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland, Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD welcomed the apology and called for the State to ensure that any redress scheme must be based on the rights and needs of the women themselves.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:
“It is shocking that it has taken this long that for the women who were incarcerated in the Magdalene institutions to get the apology they deserve. The State was complicit with the church in ensuring that there was an architecture of containment there for those whom they viewed were in need of moral guardianship for anything from being very young orphaned girls, to simply being too pretty but unmarried. Unfortunately, the Taoiseach’s apology doesn’t explicitly list the state’s exact wrongdoing. I hope this will be forthcoming in due course. I also hope that the Government will see fit to also acknowledge the state’s role in the wrongful practice of symphisiotomy through the year’s too.
“What happened in those laundries is a national scandal. It was slavery. Women were beaten, they were stripped and their heads were shaved by the nuns who ran them. The courts, the gardaí and Irish society stood over this horror.
“I look forward to seeing the detail of the redress scheme. Under the UN Convention on Torture, the women are entitled to compensation. Any redress scheme must be rights-based and woman-focused. The Taoiseach has used the term “fund” in his speech which would seem to indicate that there is a predetermined amount of money in mind for the State to meet the women’s needs. This redress scheme must not be based on what the state feels like handing over. It must be based on the actual needs of the women themselves.”

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