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Five years on from state apology, Magdalene women still waiting on Taoiseach’s commitments –McDonald

19 February, 2018 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Local TD and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has called on the Government to deliver on all outstanding commitments made to the surviving women of the Magdalene Laundries by the Taoiseach in his state apology five years ago today.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“Today, 19 February, marks the fifth anniversary of former Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s apology on behalf of the state to the woman incarcerated in Magdalene Laundries.

“Five years later, a number of commitments arising from the apology remain outstanding.

“Enda Kenny outlined in his speech the establishment of Mr Justice John Quirke’s review with recommendations to be provided to Government regarding the provision of payments and supports, including medical cards, psychological and counselling services and other welfare needs for the women.

“The Government would go on to commit to deliver the Quirke Report recommendations in full. This has not happened.

“In his speech, the former Taoiseach committed to the establishment of a permanent memorial to the women financed by the Government.

“No memorial has been delivered on, nor has the staffed consultative unit Mr Justice John Quirke recommended been established.

“An opportunity has now arisen for the establishment of a consultative process for the women and a memorial at the former Sean McDermott Street laundry site. The Justice Minister is responsible for the oversight and delivery of the Quirke recommendations, but has made little effort to progress the proposed memorial and has failed to offer up the committed funding for the project.

“The Ombudsman’s recent investigation into the Department’s administration of the Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme exposed significant flaws including the failure to provide redress entitlements to women who lack capacity to look after their own affairs.

“Most damning of all, the Ombudsman investigative report found that the Government’s scheme, intended to bring healing and reconciliation has for some served instead to cause further distress. 

“Government should now commit to undertake an independent implementation audit of the Quirke Report recommendations and commit to deliver on outstanding commitments within an agreed timeframe.” 

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