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Nuns must acknowledge their crimes and make reparations – Ó Clochartaigh

19 February, 2014

On the first anniversary of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s address to the women who survived the Magdalene laundries, Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh called on the government to immediately introduce legislation relating to the apology.

He said:

“Survivors have still not obtained the redress called for by the UN Committee Against Torture, and this is by any standards an unacceptable and unnecessary delay.

“Minister Alan Shatter has himself confirmed and I quote “that less than half the women have got their money, and none have got their pensions or health benefits”.

“Surely these women have suffered enough – most are now in the later stages of life and many are in declining health.

“These women have waited long enough for justice and the state owes them reparations.

“Even more alarming is that the nuns and the religious orders who ran these gulags have yet to apologise to the women for the regime of terror and brutality to which they subjected them.

“This is a disgrace.

“No criminal proceedings have ever been taken against the orders or against individuals who committed crimes in their name.

“The government’s provision of compensation and benefits is not and never can be a substitute for establishing the truth of what happened in these dreadful places.

“There can never be justice in this issue as long as the religious orders refuse to acknowledge the enormity of their crimes and atone for the terrible injustice done to the women who, through no fault of their own, found themselves incarcerated in convents the length and breadth of the country, without freedom, hope, love or human dignity.

“It is not acceptable that one year on from the Taoiseach’s apology, many of the women have yet to receive a penny.

“Women survivors whose lives in and outside of the laundries were and continue to be characterised by physical and psychological suffering, poverty and stigma should not have to deal with further suffering brought on by additional delays.”

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