Varadkar signals Magdalene apology

Steven O'Riordan, head of Magdalene Survivors Together, with Magdalene survivors Marina Gambold (centre) and Maureen Sullivan (right) speak to the media outside Leinster House on Monday afternoon. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien/The Irish Times

Steven O'Riordan, head of Magdalene Survivors Together, with Magdalene survivors Marina Gambold (centre) and Maureen Sullivan (right) speak to the media outside Leinster House on Monday afternoon. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien/The Irish Times

Tue, Feb 12, 2013, 00:00

The Government will apologise to the former residents of Magdalene laundries over the State’s involvement with the institutions, a senior minister has indicated.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said he thought “an apology will be forthcoming from the State because of the State’s role in those institutions.”

He said Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s decision not to offer an immediate apology on last week’s publication of the McAleese report was correct. “I think the Taoiseach was right to digest the report to consider it and to meet some of the survivors before making that formal apology,” he told RTÉ News.

Members of the Magdalene Survivors Together group spent three hours with Mr Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore yesterday afternoon. The group believes an apology will be delivered next Tuesday when the Dáil begins a debate on former Senator Martin McAleese’s report on the Magdalene laundries.

Today Mr Kenny said: “The complexities and sensitivities range over a great deal of emotions and trauma, and that’s what we have to try to reflect in the Dáil debate…
“And that the state, in attempting in the best way we can, to bring a conclusion and some degree of fairness and sensitivity to what happened here.
That’s what I hope we can address.”

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