Magdalene survivors expect apology

Steven O'Riordan, head of Magdalene Survivors Together, with Magdalene survivors Marina Gambold (centre) and Maureen Sullivan (right) speak to the media outside  Leinster House this afternoon. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien/The Irish Times

Steven O'Riordan, head of Magdalene Survivors Together, with Magdalene survivors Marina Gambold (centre) and Maureen Sullivan (right) speak to the media outside Leinster House this afternoon. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien/The Irish Times

Mon, Feb 11, 2013, 00:00

A delegation from the Magdalene Survivors Together group says it expects Taoiseach Enda Kenny to deliver an apology on behalf of the State following a three-hour meeting in Government Buildings.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore also attended the meeting with six women, four of whom want to remain anonymous.

Maureen Sullivan and Marina Gambold, who spent time in a laundry in Wexford, described Mr Kenny as “very nice and very kind” and “very sympathetic”.

When they told Mr Kenny about their experiences, the Taoiseach told them it was important for him to “put a face” to the stories in the report compiled by Senator Martin McAleese.

“That meant something to us,” Ms Sullivan said.

The women told them their "healing process" could only take place if a State apology was delivered. They also said it was important that Mr Kenny had said he believed their stories.

Asked by reporters if Mr Kenny told them he would make a full apology, Ms Sullivan said: “Yes, I think that’s coming”.

The Magdalene Survivors Together group head Steven O’Riordan confirmed that the issue of possible compensation was not discussed.

“We didn’t think that we’d get a three-hours meeting with the Taoiseach…they weren’t rushed in any capacity. A lot of the women told things that they haven’t told anybody else,” he said.

Mr O’Riordan said it was important that Mr Gilmore attended. “He was quite compassionate as well for a man who comes across as not so compassionate in the media,” Mr O’Riordan said.

The Labour Party had been strong advocates for the Magdalenes, Mr O’Riordan added.

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