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Micheál Martin apologises for omitting Magdalenes from redress scheme

The Fianna Fáil leader said he was sorry his party did not deal with survivors when it was in government.

THE LEADER OF Fianna Fáil has expressed his regret that survivors of the Magdalene Laundries were omitted from the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme following the Ryan Report.

Speaking in the Dáil this morning, Micheál Martin said he was sorry that the inter-department committee that he chaired did not deal with the laundries.

At that time, the Fianna Fáil-led government denied State complicity in the Magdalene Laundries, claiming they were private institutions.

Enda Kenny welcomed the expressions of sorrow.

The Taoiseach was pressed by Martin and Mary Lou McDonald during leader’s questions to offer a full State apology to the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries.

Although he reiterated his “sense of deep sorrow” for all of those women who went through the regime, he did not offer a full State apology.

“Sometimes in this world, people find it very hard to say sorry. On behalf of the State, I am sorry that so many women worked in the Magdalene Laundries in a harsh and difficult environment,” Kenny said in response to Sinn Féin’s deputy leader.

On behalf of this state, I am absolutely sorry for all that happened in the Magdalene Laundries.

Kenny asked for some time and space to allow Government to consider Senator Martin McAleese’s 1,000-page report on State involvement in the infamous institutions.

He said the document, which outlines the State’s complicity in the incarceration of thousands of girls and women, makes for “harrowing reading”.

“I think it is important the truth has been exposed,” he said, adding that the report helps remove the stigma that has been attached to the survivors.

Martin questioned this logic, stating that the report itself did not take away the stigma. An apology from the State is needed for that, according to the TD. “No ifs. No buts.”

Read’s coverage of the Magdalene Laundries report:

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