Magdalene group seeks action on redress

Fri, Sep 21, 2012, 01:00

THE JUSTICE for Magdalenes (JFM) group has demanded “Government action for Magdalene survivors immediately”.

This week every TD and Senator will receive a redacted copy of JFM’s recent principal submission to the Inter-Departmental Committee investigating State involvement with the Magdalene laundries. “We do so with survivors’ consent and identities have been protected,” it said yesterday.

The State Involvement with the Magdalene Laundries document “offers overwhelming and irrefutable evidence of State complicity in the abuses experienced by young girls and women in these institutions,” it said.

The group’s original submission was supported by 795 pages of newly gathered survivor testimony, which was consistent with the 3,707 pages of archival evidence and legislative documentation also provided to the committee by JFM.

The decision to provide this redacted document to TDs and Senators followed the announcement last week by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter that the committee’s final report may not now appear until the end of this year.

“The final report was to be published by ‘mid-2012’ and then no later than this month,” said JFM.

It was “gravely concerned by this additional delay and calls on the Government to issue an immediate apology and to initiate meaningful discussions towards providing redress and restorative justice to all survivors”.

It noted that “the UN Committee Against Torture recommendation (June 2011) called on the State to ensure that survivors obtain redress within one year. The State has failed to do so. Meanwhile, a population of ageing and elderly women is left waiting.”

It said Mr Shatter had refused to discuss an apology or redress until after publication of the committee’s report. “JFM has, in turn, repeatedly asked Mr Shatter to set a threshold for State involvement short of the final report so that survivors can access entitlements without further delay, eg, statutory pensions and lost wages.”

The group urged all Oireachtas members to read the redacted document and called on them to press Mr Shatter to take action within the Dáil’s autumn session.

JFM has also written to Minister of State for Equality Kathleen Lynch asking that she “make available a dedicated helpline and outreach service to laundry survivors as soon as possible”.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Margaret McGuckin, co-founder of Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (Savia) in Northern Ireland has been awarded the UK’s 2012 Social and Economic Justice Campaigner Award.

It follows Savia’s success in persuading the Northern Ireland Executive to establish an inquiry into institutional abuse there.