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One year after historic apology, still no justice for Magdalene survivors – Mary Lou McDonald TD

2 March, 2014 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

One year after Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s apology to the Magdalene survivors, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has called on the government to introduce the long awaited Restorative Justice Bill.

Speaking after the annual Flowers for Magdalene event in Glasnevin today, Deputy McDonald said:

“A year ago Taoiseach Enda Kenny made an emotional address to survivors from the Magdalene laundries in Ireland.

“The apology was a historic recognition to the women survivors of the abusive Magdalene Laundry regime.

“Despite the Taoiseach’s apology many surviving women have been excluded from the redress scheme and just a fifth of the eligible women have received their payments.

“Pensions, medical care and the other provisions recommended by the Quirke report and signed off on by government have been delivered on. Confusion still remains for the small number of women living outside the state who wish to access medical services where they currently live.

“These delays are of deep concern given the age of the women with many in declining health. Sadly, we know of at least three of the women have passed on in the year since the apology.

“It is to this government’s great shame that it has failed to prioritise the Restorative Justice legislation and we are today calling on the Justice Minister to publish the bill as a matter of urgency.

“It must also be noted that the government’s provision of compensation and benefits is in no way a substitute for establishing the truth of what happened in the laundries.

“The nuns have still not apologised, nor will they contribute to the compensation fund.

“The lives of the women survivors have been and continue to be characterised by psychological suffering, poverty and stigma. They should not have to suffer further due to additional delays in the restorative justice process.”

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