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"Important services" missing from Magdalene survivors redress scheme

Justice for Magdalenes Research has said that it falls short of what was previously recommended to Government.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

‘DEEP DISAPPOINTMENT’ has been expressed at draft redress legislation aimed at securing medical and community services for survivors of Magdalene laundries.

Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) has said the Heads of Bill falls short of what was recommended by Justice John Quirke.

The group has also raised concerns for survivors living abroad, and said it was ‘dismayed’ at the delay in the publishing of this draft legislation.

Some survivors had passed away or have required frequent hospitalisation, the group claimed.

JFMR has noted that “important services” are missing from the Bill, ranging from “complementary therapies, high tech drugs and home support to assist with household tasks”.

It said that the services offered less than what a medical card holder is entitled to.

“The Bill also requires a GP referral for counselling, which is not necessary under the HAA card scheme,” the group said in a statement.

There is no provision in the Bill for liaison officers to assist the women in accessing their entitlements, while this is a fundamental aspect of the HAA card scheme.

“We are very concerned about the health and community care needs of Magdalene survivors who live abroad. Judge Quirke recommended that each of the women would have equivalent health and community benefits.”

The Government has received more than a hundred applications to the redress scheme from the United Kingdom.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said that 754 applications have been received to date. 357 applicants have received their lump sum payment so far, at a cost of €12.8m. A further 106 formal offers have been made and letters of provisional assessment on the length of stay in a relevant institution have issued to an additional 35 applicants.

Read: Government announces legislation to support Magdalene survivors >

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Nicky Ryan

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