AN ADVOCACY GROUP representing victims of the Magdalene Laundries has welcomed an official apology to survivors made by the Taoiseach in the Dáil this evening.
Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) arranged for a group of surviving women, children and family members to sit in the public gallery to watch Enda Kenny speech. On behalf of the survivors and their families, JFM acknowledged the “sincere and heartfelt words of sorrow on behalf of all Irish citizens and the Irish State”.
“This was a deeply meaningful experience for people who never thought they would see this day, and the official apology, come to pass. JFM thanks Mr Kenny on their behalf,” the group said in a statement this evening.
In particular, JFM welcomed the Taoiseach’s acceptance of State involvement in the Laundries in all the five areas investigated by the Inter-Departmental Committee, as well as the inclusion of all surviving women in the apology and ensuing compensation scheme.
We also acknowledge the important gesture of “taking back” the secrecy and stigma carried by the women for so long. In doing so, Mr Kenny leads by example in demonstrating the need for our nation to re-examine its “conscience” for the manner in which marginalised women and children are treated in the past and the present. On the 19th February 2013, we witnessed the beginnings of the end of “Magdalene Ireland”.
The group said it would now look to ensure that the promised redress system will be prompt, open, fair, and transparent.
“We contend that Justice John Quirke, who will head up the three month review to recommend the criteria for providing supports, payments and services to the women, must be given statutory powers. There must also be an independent appeals system, and Justice Quirke must be properly resourced. The system must be non-adversarial and transparent. It can be private but not secret. And, the process of review must be completed in the three-month time frame,” JFM stated.
The group also noted that comments made by the Táiniste Eamon Gilmore were welcome – particularly his acknowledgement of human rights abuses and his call on the religious congregations to contribute to compensation.
Justice for Magdalenes also publicly acknowledged and thanked everyone who had supported their campaign to date.
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