The site of the former Magdalene Laundry on Sean MacDermott Street in Dublin. Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Terms of Reference for government's Magdalene fund published

Judge John Quirke will make recommendations on the criteria for the help the government can give to Magdalene Laundries survivors.

THE TERMS OF Reference for the process that will lead to the establishment of a fund for Magdalene Laundries survivors have been published.

In a speech in the Dáil this evening, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the Government has asked the President of the Law Reform Commission Judge John Quirke to undertake a three month review and to make recommendations as to the criteria that should be applied in assessing the help that the government can provide in areas including medical cards, psychological and counselling services and other welfare needs.

When Judge Quirk reports back – the time frame having been set at three months – the fund to assist women will be established.

The Terms of Reference for Mr Justice Quirke are:

Mr Justice Quirke will, taking into account the findings of the “Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalene Laundries”, be asked to do the following:

(i) to advise on the establishment of an ex gratia Scheme (to operate on a non-adverserial basis) including identifying the criteria and factors to be taken into account to facilitate the early establishment and effective conduct of an ex gratia Scheme for the benefit of those women who were admitted to and worked in a Magdalene Laundry and in the Laundry operated in the Training Centre at Stanhope Street, Dublin, taking into account criteria determined to be relevant, including work undertaken and other matters as considered appropriate, to contribute to a healing and reconciliation process;

(ii) to examine how best to operate (as part of that Scheme) an ex gratia Fund, of a sum sufficient to meet the recommendations of Mr Justice Quirke, the nature and amount of ex gratia payments to be made out of the Fund and on the determination of applications for payment in an effective and timely manner that ensures the monies in the Fund are directed only to the benefit of eligible applicants and not on legal fees and expenses.

(iii) to examine how the Government might best provide supports (including health services such as medical cards, mental health services and counselling services and other welfare needs) as part of the Scheme for women who require such supports as a result of their experiences in the Laundries.

(iv) to consider the approach to be taken in circumstances in which a payment has already been made by the Redress Board by way of redress to a former resident of an industrial school, where such payment included a sum specifically due to the direct transfer of that person from an industrial school to a relevant Laundry and their time or part of their time spent in a Laundry or Laundries.

(v) to examine the effect, if any, of the making of an ex gratia payment to a person who is resident in the UK and how best the making of any such payment should be structured so as not to adversely affect their existing entitlements to benefits and supports.

(vi) to advise as to what steps or measures are appropriate to ensure that ex gratia payments or supports or assistance provided are dis-regarded for the purposes of determining entitlement of Social Welfare payments and/or income tax liability.

(vii) to report back to Government within three months with recommendations.

Read: Kenny “deeply regrets and apologises unreservedly” to Magdalene women in emotional speech>

VIDEO: Enda Kenny issues formal State apology to Magdalene survivors>

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