Magdalene women excluded from redress scheme to be paid

Government says it will resolve issue of 200 survivors whose awards were withheld

 Ombudsman Peter Tyndall had warned the Department of Justice that it needed to move speedily to deal with compensation for the 200 women. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall had warned the Department of Justice that it needed to move speedily to deal with compensation for the 200 women. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

The situation of about 200 women who had been in Magdalene laundries but have to date been excluded from a State redress scheme is expected to be resolved this week, the Department of Justice has said.

The matter is to be addressed at the Cabinet meeting and a spokesman for the department said on Monday night that it expected “to be in a position later this week to write to the women concerned and to start processing awards”.

A Magdalene redress scheme has already paid compensation to 700 women, but awards have been withheld from those who did not live in the institutions. Though they worked in the laundries, they were accommodated elsewhere, usually in adjoining premises.

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall had warned the department that it needed to move speedily to deal with compensation for these women.

The department spokesman said “significant work had taken place to implement the Ombudsman’s recommendations” and that “the department expects to have the addendum finalised imminently”.

Addendum

Mr Tyndall said as far as he was concerned these women could have been admitted to the original scheme, but that the Government had taken the the view that an addendum was necessary to enable them to access the scheme.

The women involved are “very distressed” at their continuing exclusion from the compensation scheme

“If that were the case it should have been dealt with and processed quickly. Our concern is that it has been a year since the [Ombudsman’s report on Magdalene redress] was issued; that addendum still hasn’t been finalised,” he said.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One programme, Mr Tyndall said “this has not been an issue with the Department of Justice, the addendum has been with the Attorney General’s office. We need to see it turned around from there very quickly indeed.”

The women involved are understood to be “very distressed” at their continuing exclusion from the compensation scheme prepared by Mr Justice John Quirke following publication of the inter-departmental Magdalene report in 2013.

“They are gravely disappointed and wonder whether such as the Dublin Honours Magdalenes events of last May was just a sham,” said Katherine O’Donnell of the Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) group.

The women affected were mainly among the younger survivors of the Magdalene laundries and are “in their 40s, 50s and 60s”, she said.

Their situation was “not fair” and arose due to an interpretation of the Justice Quirke scheme which was not acceptable, said Ms O’Donnell.