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Justice Minister confirms health services for Magdalene women living outside the state being considered

4 December, 2013 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has welcomed the Justice Minister’s confirmation that he and the Minister for Health are considering the provision of medical care to the surviving women of the Magdalene Laundries.

The Dublin Central TD;

“Responding to a parliamentary question the Minister for Justice and Equality has confirmed that the Minister for Health is considering the provision of medical services to Magdalene women who reside outside the state. To date there has been confusion on this critically important strand of the government’s redress package.

“Most of the surviving women are elderly and many are suffering ill-health. Judge Quirke recommended that a fundamental element of the redress scheme, signed off on by government recently, should relate to the provision of healthcare and access to healthcare services for the women.

“Whilst we welcome the Justice Minister’s clarification we remain concerned that he and the Minister for Health may draw out their deliberations. We know of at least two Magdalene women who have died in recent months and there are some who are seriously ill and who need the state’s support today, not in six or twelve months’ time.

“Making the necessary arrangement with other jurisdictions should not be a hurdle for government. Inter country arrangements for the provision of health services already exist within the EU and similar arrangements can be sought for the handful of women who now live in the US, Australia and Switzerland. Bilateral arrangements are already in place between Ireland and these countries on far more complex issues than providing health services for a dozen elderly women.

“I urge the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Health to give this matter the urgency it requires ensuring the women get the support and care they need and as recommended by Justice Quirke.” ENDS

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Mr. Shatter)
by Deputy Mary Lou McDonald
for WRITTEN on Tuesday, 3rd December, 2013.

* To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide medical care for women who were admitted to and worked in the relevant Magdalene Laundries institutions but who currently reside outside the State; and if this medical care will be delivered in the country within which they reside, if not in this State..

- Mary Lou McDonald

The Deputy will be aware that legislation is required in order to implement Judge Quirke's recommendation with regard to the provision of medical services to the women who were admitted to and worked in the Magdalen Laundries, St Mary's Training Centre Stanhope Street and House of Mercy Training School, Summerhill, Wexford. My Department, in consultation with the Department of Health are working on the preparation of the necessary legislation.

The issue of providing medical services to women, eligible under the Scheme, who reside outside the State will be considered by the Minister for Health.

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