FIANNA FÁIL has tabled a Dáil motion seeking a formal State apology to the women committed to Magdalene Laundries.
The motion, which will be debated on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, calls on the Taoiseach to apologise to the women “on behalf of the Oireachtas and all citizens of the State, for what they had to endure”.
It also calls for a new unit to be set up at the Department of Justice “to co-ordinate the remaining aspects of the State’s response” to the inter-departmental report published this week.
Perhaps crucially, this unit would examine “all forms of redress which should be provided”.
Next week’s debates on Fianna Fáil’s motion come in advance of a full Dáil debate on the contents of the McAleese report, which has been pencilled in for the following week. Most of next week’s Dáil business concerns a motion on the promissory note deal.
“It is important that the issue of an apology for these women is addressed in a timely way in the Oireachtas,” said Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Niall Collins, the chief signatory of the motion.
“The McAleese report published last week confirmed State involvement in the Magdalene Laundries. No attempt to play down the findings of the report can or should distract from that fact.”
Collins said the Government’s immediate response was “deeply disappointing” and the failure to issue a formal apology had left the survivors of Magdalene abuse “angry and let down”.
This week Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who was a cabinet minister when a redress scheme was set up for abuse victims in residential institutions, apologised for his former government’s stance that the Magdalene institutions were private bodies independent of any State involvement.