Magdalene laundries report to go to Government after summer
A REPORT from the interdepartmental committee on Magdalene laundries is not expected to come before Government until September.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said yesterday “the department does not have a precise date for publication of the report” but “this is unlikely to happen before September . . . where it will in the first instance have to be submitted to Government”.
In his 2011 report on child protection published last Tuesday, special rapporteur Geoffrey Shannon said in reference to Magdalene survivors: “It appears from the reports provided by these women and girls that their treatment constituted slavery.” They were “sent to institutions, in which women and girls were made to work without pay, where physical punishment was practised, doors were locked and escapees were likely to be returned by the police”.
He noted “the prohibition of slavery is a peremptory norm of international law: that is a norm of state practice which is so fundamental that no derogation from it is ever permitted”.
The “need to deal with the matter of accountability and redress in relation to the Magdalene laundries is of vital importance to ensure compliance with international human rights law”, he said. He also said the State had “long resisted taking responsibility for its part in the horrendous treatment of these vulnerable members of Irish society”.
The abuses should also be investigated with a view to criminal prosecutions where appropriate, he said. “This should be a priority for the Government because of the seriousness of the alleged abuses and in particular because of the slow and inadequate response over many years.”
The Justice for Magdalenes group “strongly welcomed” Dr Shannon’s comments.