Answers needed on Magdalene redress scheme – Adams
Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams this morning questioned the Taoiseach about the redress scheme and the three month review that is being undertaken by Justice John Quirke following the state’s apology to the women survivors.
The Sinn Féin leader specifically asked the Taoiseach about the inclusion of Summerhill in Wexford and the survivors of the Bethany Home in Dublin.
Teachta Adams welcomed the Taoiseach’s commitment that the government will consider including Summerhill in the redress scheme and that the Minister for Justice is currently examining the case for the victims of Bethany Home.
Teachta Adams said:
“Yesterday the women of the Magdalene laundries heard the words of apology they needed to hear. However it is now crucial that the women are properly compensated for what was done to them.
“This needs to be done in a prompt, fair, open and transparent manner. These are women who had already had their rights trampled upon.
“The publication of the terms of reference for Mr Justice Quirke’s review pose questions that the government must answer.
“For example, the ex gratia scheme is essentially a payment without admission of liability. This is clearly at odds with the sentiment of the Taoiseach’s remarks last night and the McAleese report both of which accept that the State is liable for what happened to these women.
“The government also needs to clarify whether Mr Justice Quirke will be given statutory powers. Will there be an independent appeal mechanism for the women? And while nobody wants runaway legal fees some consideration should be given to allow some form of legal representation for those women who feel they need it.
“The government needs to make it clear that those already compensated for their ill treatment in industrial schools will not be excluded under this scheme if they were in a Magdalene Laundry. Nobody should be excluded because they were also abused in those institutions.
“The McAleese report also refers to persons resident in the UK but no mention is made of Magdalene women living in the USA or elsewhere in the world.
“And finally there is the issue of a contribution from the religious congregations who ran the Magdalene laundries.
“All of these questions require clarification by government so that the Magdalene survivors have a complete understanding of the approach being taken by the government and their rights in this new situation.”