Thursday, 17 December 2009
Order of Business
Tom Kitt (Dublin South, Fianna Fail)
I support the views expressed by Deputy Shatter that the Government should look again at the need for a distinct redress scheme for the Magdalen laundries. The Minister outlined his position when he stated: "The State did not refer individuals to Magdalen laundries nor was it complicit in referring individuals to them." Professor James Smith from Boston came here on Tuesday and I facilitated a meeting with him of an all-party group of Oireachtas Members. He has presented very strong evidence that the young women were routinely referred to various Magdalen asylums via the Irish court system. The Garda actually returned women who escaped from these laundry institutions even though these women should have been perfectly free to leave. Professor Smith met officials from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and got a very positive response. On the basis of this new evidence I ask the Taoiseach to look again at the need to address the case of the Magdalen laundries. The Government is following up on the recommendations of the Ryan report, but these people are being excluded. It is a matter of justice and principle. While I accept there are financial implications, not many women are involved and many of them have been looked after. We claim to cherish all of our children equally and the case is very strong for those who were in the Magdalen laundries. It is new evidence and the Government would be right to look at it again.