Survivors laud UN censure of religious

‘Continued refusal’ to offer compensation to Magdalene laundry survivors highlighted

A group representing survivors of clerical sex abuse has welcomed a UN report criticising the four religious orders behind the Magdalene laundries for their “continued refusal” to offer financial compensation.

The US-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap) said the situation was characteristic of an “inexcusable recalcitrance of Catholic figures who still treat these deeply wounded victims with callousness and contempt”.

The UN's Committee Against Torture yesterday urged the Catholic church to do more to punish perpetrators, help victims and place "meaningful sanctions" on clerics who failed to deal properly with "credible allegations" of abuse by members of religious orders.

It said there had been 3,420 such allegations of abuse by members of the clergy reported to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith between 2004 and 2013. These have resulted in the defrocking of 848 priests and disciplinary action against a further 2,572.


It rejected the Holy See's claim that it had jurisdiction only in the Vatican City State.

On the Magdalene laundries, the committee was "concerned about the [Vatican] response to the continued refusal by the four religious orders that ran the Magdalene laundries in Ireland to contribute to a redress fund for individuals subjected to abuse in those facilities".

Measures to address this should include taking “additional steps” to ensure the provision of redress by the individual orders, it said.

Women sent to the laundries were made to work in slave-like conditions, and were often subject to cruel and degrading treatment as well as abuse, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said in February.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times