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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 23 January, 2020

Apology is 'fundamentally important' as Magdalenes meet Taoiseach today

Members of the Magdalene Survivors Together will meet with Taoiseach Enda Kenny this afternoon but another group has sought clarification on the purpose of any meeting.

Members of the Magdalene Survivors Together group speak to reporters after the publication of the McAleese report last week
Members of the Magdalene Survivors Together group speak to reporters after the publication of the McAleese report last week
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

WOMEN FROM THE Magdalene Survivors Together (MST) group are expected to meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny later today as the director of the group said that an apology on behalf of the State is “fundamentally important”.

Steven O’Riordan said that the five women meeting Kenny today do not expect a private apology at the meeting but do expect an “unreserved apology” from the government when the Dáil debates the content of a recent report next week.

The McAleese report, published last week, found that the State was involved in committing over a quarter of the women who were recorded as having worked – without pay – in the laundries to the institutions between 1922 and 1996.

The State’s involvement in the incarceration of more than 2,100 women in the laundries was expected to an elicit a formal apology last week but that was not forthcoming as the Taoiseach and ministers said time was needed to consider the content of the 1,000 page report.

“We need to repay the women for all the work they did in the Magdalene Laundries,” MST director O’Riordan told Newstalk’s Breakfast programme this morning.

He said that having the meeting today was “the right thing to do” and he said that the Taoiseach needed to realise the “enormity of what he is about to achieve” if and when he does issue an apology.

Another group representing survivors, Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), said that it needed clarification on the purpose of the meeting, its format and the agenda as well as what guarantees will be given to protect survivors from the media before it decided whether or not to meet the Taoiseach.

A statement issued last night said: “A written communication is received from An Taoiseach’s office clarifying the issues raised above, JFM will in turn contact survivors and allow them to make their own decision regarding a meeting.

“If survivors decide to attend, JFM will make itself available to facilitate this.”

O’Riordan said that he understood the “apprehension” of some of those affiliated to the JFM group but said that his group had received assurances from the government about the meeting.

A group of five women from the MST group will meet with Kenny at 2pm today.

Lisa McInerney: Magdalene atrocities happened because society allowed them to

Read: Howlin says State ‘must acknowledge Magdalenes and make amends’

Plus: This is how the world reacted to the Magdalene Laundries report

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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