McAleese welcomed as Magdalene chair


THE JUSTICE for Magdalenes group has welcomed the Government announcement that Senator Martin McAleese is to chair the interdepartmental committee that will seek to clarify State interaction with the 10 Magdalene laundries that existed in Ireland between 1922 and 1996.

Dr McAleese, husband of President Mary McAleese, was recently appointed as one of the Taoiseach’s nominees to the Seanad.

The justice group said it was committed to working with him.

In announcing the appointment earlier yesterday, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said the Government believed it was “essential to fully establish the true facts and circumstances relating to the Magdalene laundries as a first step.

The purpose of the interdepartmental committee will be to clarify any State interaction with the Magdalene laundries and to produce a narrative detailing such interaction.”

He was “delighted” Dr McAleese had agreed to take on “the important role”. He said “the value of his work and involvement in the peace process in Northern Ireland and the positive contribution he has made to life on this island have been widely recognised”.

Dr McAleese was “a person of the highest integrity whose presence on the committee will, I believe, both enhance its stature and, importantly, reassure everyone concerned that the role of chairperson of the interdepartmental committee is a truly independent one.”

Dr McAleese said “the sole purpose of the committee is to clarify and detail the facts of any State interaction with the laundries”.

He hoped that its report would “make a valuable contribution to this issue”.