Response to Magdalene laundries report
Sir, – The finding of the Inter-Departmental Committee Investigating State Involvement with the Magdalene laundries that there was significant State involvement is to be welcomed and reaffirms the assertion made by Magdalene survivors, advocacy organisations, the Irish Human Rights Commission (2010) and the United Nations Committee against Torture (2011).
That the Government has not, as yet, issued a full formal apology to these women is to say the least, extremely disappointing.
In 2010 and 2011, the National Women’s Council of Ireland wrote to women politicians at local and national level seeking their support for: an apology from the State and the religious orders who ran the Magdalene laundries; a compensation scheme; a statutory pension; and complete access to their records. Our call received cross-party support and many put forward motions passed at local authority level.
This is a key moment for the survivors of the Magdalene laundries. For them, according to the Justice for Magdalenes advocacy group, an apology is a first crucial step in restoring their dignity and sense of citizenship.
It is a key moment too for the Government to go just some way, in setting right the injustices of the past. Justice must be done and a clear and resounding message must emanate from Government that the treatment of these women was a severe violation of their human rights. We urge the Taoiseach, in recognition of the women survivors and in memory of those who died, to acknowledge that the State failed in its duties to protect their rights, to issue a full formal apology to them and ensure that justice is served. – Yours, etc,
A chara, – As a man, I am deeply disturbed by the way Enda Kenny squirms in the seat of power, while women who have suffered enormously and so unjustly wait for his apology. Furthermore, is government so male-dominated to this day that Mary Lou Mc Donald has to single-handedly challenge the Taoiseach?
Are there no outraged men in government? This is an utter disgrace, and in any decent society, it should be a resigning matter for the leader. How difficult can it be to own up to a glaring truth?
I am appalled at the Taoiseach’s attempts to go toe to toe with the Sinn Féin TD, as if this particular issue has any relevance to whatever Sinn Féin got up to in the past. We all know that financial circumstances are straitened, but if the Taoiseach believes that by becoming an ostrich, he will save the State coffers, he is showing very poor leadership.
Indeed, how can we hope that a man resorting to schoolboy tactics, in the face of this horror, can spearhead economic recovery and growth? Up until more recent times, I had thought the Coalition offered some hope. I see now my misconception.