Excessive burden of proof on Magdalene survivors, Dáil told

Maureen O’Sullivan says inadequate records to blame

Maureen O’Sullivan TD.   Photograph: Eric Luke

Maureen O’Sullivan TD. Photograph: Eric Luke


She said “one would imagine that a much more flexible approach could be adopted at this point” and that “the ladies to whom I refer could be given the benefit of the doubt’’.

Ms O’Sullivan said some of the women were being excluded from redress, while others were being offered less than their entitlement.

“There are those who feel so defeated by this extra burden they are being obliged to shoulder that it is like being back in the laundries for them.’’

No official proof

The woman, said Ms O’Sullivan, had approached the Department of Justice following the Taoiseach’s apology to the Magdalene survivors in February 2013, and registered with the implementation team at the end of June of that year.

Ms O’Sullivan said she had been trying to obtain an answer from the department for the woman, who was in her 80s, for the past six weeks, and was told it was awaiting a directive.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said he would ask Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to follow up the case. He said the Government would ensure there would be no delays in the payment of compensation.

Retention of records

“We are concerned about the fact that the destruction of any of those records would represent a significant loss.’’

Mr Gilmore said he completely accepted it would be desirable to ensure the commitments made relating to payments and the provision of healthcare and supports to survivors of the laundries were followed up on.

The Government, he added, would be happy to investigate any matters brought to its attention by Ms O’Sullivan.