THE JUSTICE MINISTER Alan Shatter has confirmed that the first payments to survivors of the Magdalene Laundries will be made in the next four to six weeks.
Speaking in the Dáil this evening, Shatter said that over 600 applications have been made for lump-sum payments from the redress scheme established by his Department in the wake of the McAleese report.
Of these, Shatter said that over 200 applications have been processed to an advanced stage and the final details of the scheme were agreed at Cabinet this morning.
He said he expects his Department to be in a position to make its first offers of payments to survivors of the laundries in the next four to six weeks.
He also said that the provision of other benefits, including weekly payments from the Department of Social Protection and medical services from the Department of Health, will be dependent on the introduction of administrative and legislative measures and said work has already begun on this.
Shatter said these payments will be backdated to 1 August 2013.
He also said that woman who receive payments should ascertain independent legal advice before signing a waiver not to take proceedings against the State.
He said up to €500 will be made available to these women towards the cost of obtaining this legal advice.