Magdalene survivors 'should be compensated'

Apartments are seen on the  site of the former St Mary's Laundry and burial plot off Grace Park Road in Drumcondra.

Apartments are seen on the site of the former St Mary's Laundry and burial plot off Grace Park Road in Drumcondra.

Tue, Feb 5, 2013, 00:00

The Government should establish a compensation process which includes the provision of pensions, lost wages, health and housing services and redress to women admitted to the Magdalene laundries, the advocacy group Justice for Magdalenes has said.

The group made its comments following the publication of a report into State involvement in the laundries which found that over a quarter of the 10,000 women referred to the laundries between 1922 and the closure of the last laundry in 1996 were made or facilitated by the State.

“Magdalene survivors have waited too long for justice and this should not be now burdened with either a complicated legal process or a closed-door policy of compensation,” a spokeswoman for the group said in the wake of this afternoon’s publication.

Justice for Magdalenes has welcomed the findings of the inquiry, which it said, showed that the State was “directly and fundamentally involved" in the Magdalene laundries.

“It can no longer be claimed that these institutions were private and that ‘the vast majority’ of the girls and women entered voluntarily as has been claimed,” the group said.

“The State gave lucrative laundry contracts to these institutions, without complying with fair wage clauses and in the absence of any compliance with social insurance obligations. The State inspected the laundries under the Factories Acts, and in doing so, the State oversaw and furthered a system of forced and unpaid labour, in violation of countless legal obligations,” a spokeswoman for the group said.

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