Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Department of Education and Science
Residential Institutions Redress Scheme
Question 1281: To ask the Minister for Education and Science if he will take steps to establish a distinct redress scheme for survivors of the Magdalene laundries along the lines suggested by a group (details supplied); if this matter will be reconsidered in this context; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34560/09]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1136, 1281 together.
I am aware of the case being made by Justice for Magdalene. The position of the women who resided in the Magdalen laundries is one of the issues that has also been raised by groups representing survivors, following publication of the Ryan Report.
The position in relation to the Magdalen laundries under the existing redress arrangements, is that section 1(3) of the Residential Institutions Redress Act, 2002 provides that children who were sent to Magdalen laundries from institutions specified in the Schedule to the Act can be considered for financial redress if, as children, they were victims of abuse while resident in the laundries. This provision was included on the basis that the State was still responsible for the welfare and protection of children who were transferred to a Magdalen laundry from a State regulated institution.
As the Deputies will be aware, the Magdalen laundries were privately owned and operated establishments which did not come within the responsibility of the State and were not subject to State regulation or supervision. I would like to re-iterate my sincere apology for any offence caused by my inadvertent use of the term "employees" when referring to the women who worked in the laundries.