Bishop says all must help Magdalene women
Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin Eamonn Walsh said yesterday that helping women who had been in the Magdalene laundries was “a matter for all parties involved”.
He was responding to media queries as to whether the four religious congregations which ran the 10 laundries should help fund compensation and services for the women.
“Everybody who held responsibility [where the laundries were concerned] should step up to the line,” he said.
It was “up to everybody to be responsible”, he said, and that “the religious won’t be found wanting”.
It was learned last night that the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter is now contacting the religious orders that ran the laundries in connection with the funding of the redress scheme.
Earlier Mr Shatter and Minister of State for Equality Kathleen Lynch met Magdalene Survivors Together spokesman Steven O’Riordan in Government Buildings to discuss what some of the women were hoping to get.
“The women would be open to a cap being put on the amount an individual can claim, perhaps €200,000,” Mr O’Riordan said.
He said they were seeking about €20,000 per year they spent in the laundries as compensation for unpaid work, along with a lump sum fee of €50,000.
Mr O’Riordan said the women also hoped a concert could be staged featuring various artists who have supported their campaign over the years to which they could invite members of their extended families. A proposed title for the concert was A Song for the Magdalenes.
Other women supported by the Justice for Magdalenes group have proposed a €100,000 sum in addition to a package of services, including pensions and lost wages.
Meanwhile, there has been a call for compensation to be extended to children of deceased women who had been in the laundries.
Speaking to The Irish Times yesterday Mary Collins, whose mother died in 1988 at the Sisters of Charity laundry on Peacock Lane in Cork city, said her mother’s unpaid wages should be her’s and her sister’s inheritance.
Her mother had spent 27 years in the laundry and was buried in grave 73 at St Gabriel’s Cemetery nearby.
Mary’s older sister Bridget spent three years in the Good Shepherd laundry in Cork. She has since died by suicide. Her other sister Teresa was adopted and attended a school in Cork that had a choir which sang occasionally for the women in the Peacock Lane laundry.
It was many years later before Teresa realised that her own mother was among the women she had been singing for all those years beforehand.
The family originated at Caherciveen, Co Kerry, where their mother lived with her own sister and that sister’s husband.
He was Mary’s father and that of her two sisters.
As Mary recalled it her mother was sent to a psychiatric hospital in Midleton, Co Cork, but escaped from there and was caught by gardaí. They brought her to the Peacock Lane laundry, where she would spend the rest of her days.