Taoiseach receives demand for Magdalene redress
FIANNA FÁIL TDs Tom Kitt and Michael Kennedy yesterday delivered to Taoiseach Brian Cowen the first 1,000 signatures from an online petition demanding a State apology and a distinct redress scheme for survivors of the Magdalene laundries.
Yesterday at Leinster House the Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) group, which initiated the petition, met the Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs of which Tom Kitt and Michael Kennedy are chairman and deputy chairman, respectively. Among TDs who attended the meeting were Ned O’Keeffe, Chris Andrews, Maureen O’Sullivan, Kathleen Lynch and Michael D Higgins.
The committee was addressed by Prof James Smith of Boston College who presented new evidence which demonstrated the State’s complicity in referring girls and women to the laundries. Signatories to the petition include people of more than 40 nationalities. Many have also posted comments expressing outrage at the Government’s failure to correct a historic injustice.
Mari Steed of JFM urged people in Ireland “to make their voices heard on this issue. It is important that Mr Cowen understands the world is watching and there is widespread support for survivors of the Magdalene laundries.” Dr Smith said that “what Mr Cowen seems not to appreciate is that this is a time-sensitive issue. Many survivors in this community are elderly . . . It doesn’t seem outrageous to ask that the Government let these women know that what happened to them was wrong. An apology would mean a lot to this community of survivors.”
The petition can be accessed at the JFM homepage: www. magdalenelaundries.com