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Sinn Féin welcomes publication of IHRC Follow-up Report on State Involvement in the Magdalene Laundries

18 June, 2013 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has welcomed the publication of the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) Follow-up Report on State Involvement in the Magdalene Laundries.

Deputy McDonald has called on Government Ministers to ensure the IHRC Follow-up Report recommendations and conclusions inform their consideration of the impending Magdalene redress scheme.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“Today’s publication of IHRCs Follow-up Report on State Involvement in the Magdalene Laundries is timely. The Justice Minister has committed to bringing Mr Justice Quirke’s redress scheme proposals to cabinet shortly, and the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) recently wrote to the Minister for Justice setting out a number of very serious concerns regarding the Magdalene Laundries Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC) Report.

“UNCAT Follow-up Rapporteur Felice D Gaer notes that the IDC report did not conduct a full independent investigation into allegations of arbitrary detention, forced labour or ill-treatment despite the state receiving extensive survivor testimony in the form of reports by Justice for Magdalenes. She also states that the Inter-Departmental report lacked many elements of a prompt, independent and thorough investigation, as recommended by UNCAT in its Concluding Observations.

“The IHRC report recommends that the state should ensure that all credible allegations of abuse which involve a breach of the state’s human rights obligations should be independently investigated with defined terms of reference and statutory powers.

“The report also concludes that in the absence of the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme including in its terms of reference the treatment of persons in laundries, including Magdalene Laundries, that a statutory mechanism be established to investigate the matters advanced by Justice for Magdalenes and in appropriate cases to grant redress.

“To date the government has set its face against putting the impending Magdalene redress scheme on a statutory footing, or indeed in providing justice to women incarcerated in laundries not dealt with by the Inter-Departmental Report.

“Government Ministers must ensure the IHRC report and UNCAT concerns inform their consideration of any and all proposed redress scheme proposals.” ENDS

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