Details of Magdalen laundries compensation scheme expected this week

Women want upfront rather than staged payments

  Women from the Seán McDermott Street laundry parade down Gloucester Street, Dublin

Women from the Seán McDermott Street laundry parade down Gloucester Street, Dublin


A report advising the Government on a redress scheme to compensate women incarcerated in Magdalen laundries, is expected to go to Cabinet tomorrow and be published on Wednesday.

The report by former High Court judge Mr Justice John Quirke was submitted to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter at the end of last month. Apparent details of the document were leaked to the media in the past two weeks but in the Dáil subsequently, Mr Shatter dismissed the reports.

These included suggestions the retired judge had recommended a reconciliation forum between former residents and nuns from the four religious orders who ran the institutions. The proposals were dismissed as “utterly pointless” by representatives of the group Magdalene Survivors Together.

Asked about the publication date of the report a Department of Justice spokeswoman said yesterday, “we don’t have any details on this” but it is understood that after the Cabinet considers the report tomorrow, survivors and their representatives will receive the report at a briefing on Wednesday in advance of its publication later that day.

Estimates vary
Official estimates of the compensation scheme vary between €22 million and almost €50 million, based on the fact some 700 people contacted the department after the Minister announced he was seeking expressions of interest from people who felt they should benefit from the scheme but more applications are expected once the report is published and details of the scheme are announced.

The level of contribution from the four orders of nuns is also expected to be a consideration in the level of funding.

Consideration has been given to a small initial payment and then further sequential payments and support based on the women’s requirements. But the majority of women, who are elderly and with varying levels of illness and disability, want a single payment up front.