THE GOVERNMENT HAS been urged to issue an official State apology to victims of the notorious Magdalene laundries, by a group representing survivors of the institutions.
Justice for Magdalenes believe that a number of measures are necessary to move forward from the abuse suffered by women in the laundries. As well as an official apology, it is calling for an extension of financial compensation to the laundries’ survivors, and funding for the history of the institutions to be preserved.
It says women who were held in the institutions should be recompensed for pensions and lost wages for the time they spent in the laundries, calculated by today’s average industrial wage.
Another change demanded by the group is that women who receive reparations from the State via the Residential Institutions Redress Board should still be able to speak out about their experiences. “It is crucial that participation in the scheme should in no way restrict women from publicly discussing or publishing accounts of their experiences in the laundries,” said Maeve O’Rourke of JFM.
A national memorial should be constructed in memory of the laundries, according to the group’s report submitted to the government today, which also states that an official archive and oral history project should be set up to enable “teaching of the history of the Magdalene Laundries to current and future generations in Ireland’s schools”.
JFM committee member Dr Katherine O’Donnell said: “The submission is part of an ongoing consultative process initiated by both Ministers which JFM hopes will inform the State’s actions as the ongoing government investigation moves forward.”