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Dublin: 2 °C Sunday 23 November, 2014

SIPTU calls for financial compensation for Magdalene survivors

The country’s biggest trade union says mental anguish cannot be undone, and survivors should be compensated adequately.

Members of the Magdalene Survivors Together group speak to reporters after the publication of today's report.
Members of the Magdalene Survivors Together group speak to reporters after the publication of today's report.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE COUNTRY’S largest trade union has called for the survivors of abuse at Magdalene Laundries to be given financial compensation in return for their forced labour.

SIPTU made the call following the publication of a report by an inter-departmental committee outlining major State involvement in the Laundries, including a direct State role in the admission of over 2,000 women.

The union’s equality and campaigns organiser Ethel Buckley said the scale of abuse that took place at the Laundries could “no longer be denied”.

“The mental anguish these women and their families endured can never be undone,” she said.

“The issue of the social context in which this abuse was allowed to persist, and in many instances supported, by the State is an issue to which Irish society must now face up.”

Buckley added that the report made it clear that some institutions and businesses had made financial profit from the forced extraction of labour from women resident in Laundries.

She asserted:

The Government must now ensure that the institutions responsible, whatever their status, are made to pay for the forced labour of these women.

Buckley added that there was a “clear class dimension” to the level of exploitation and abuse present in Laundries.

“This report has lessons for Irish society today, as well as helping to expose wrongdoing that was allowed to continue and fester for so long,” she said.

Read: Taoiseach stops short of apologising for Magdalene Laundries, angering survivors

More: ‘State must finally accept its role’: Amnesty responds to Magdalene report

In numbers: The report into the State’s role in the Magdalene Laundries

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