Thursday, 27 June 2013
Topical Issue Debate
Magdalen Laundries Issues
On the basis of the contents of the McAleese report and the manner in which the people in the laundries were treated, there is an indisputable case for the Catholic Church not only to apologise to them but to make some contribution to the welfare of those still alive. I am not suggesting that those who represent the Catholic Church have not read the McAleese report but it would be difficult for any human being not to be touched by its contents.
There is a strong case for the church, now that it has made its apology, to address the question of the surviving women’s welfare. As the laundries made money for the religious orders and the church is also probably the largest landlord in the country, it can well afford to compensate the small number of surviving people from the laundries.
Like other Members, I have been getting letters and e-mails about examining my conscience on the protection of life Bill. As we live in a democracy, we must take these points on board and listen to what others have to say. I am prepared to examine my conscience before voting on the protection of life Bill. Even at this late stage, will the church examine its conscience on the treatment of and lack of provision of welfare for the people in question in their laundries and provide some form of financial redress to them?