Thursday, 24 March 2011
Department of Justice, Equality and Defence
Report on Magdalene Laundries
Question 77: To ask the Minister for Justice and Law Reform his views on the Irish Human Rights Commission's Assessment which called for a statutory inquiry into human rights violations in the Magdalene Laundries; if he will institute this statutory inquiry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5637/11]
Question 78: To ask the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will ensure that a formal apology for the State's failure to protect women and young girls from abuse in the Magdalene Laundries is offered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5638/11]
Question 79: To ask the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he intends to offer a formal apology on behalf of the nation for the failure to protect women and young girls from abuse in the laundries; and if he will make a statement on the Attorney General's response to the Irish Human Rights Commission's Assessment that called on the Government to institute a statutory inquiry into human rights violations in the laundries. [5652/11]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 77 to 79, inclusive, together.
On 9 November, 2010 the Human Rights Commission published their assessment of the request by the Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) group to carry out an enquiry under Section 9 of the Human Rights Commission Act, 2000 into the treatment of women and girls who resided in Magdalen Laundries. The Human Rights Commission decided not to carry out a statutory enquiry itself as it is entitled to do under the legislation which established it and as was requested by the Justice for Magdalenes group. It recommended that a statutory mechanism be established to investigate the matters advanced by JFM and in appropriate cases to grant redress where warranted. Their assessment was the subject of an Adjournment Debate in this House on that same evening. As outlined to the House in that Debate, the assessment raises issues for a range of Government Departments as well as for the four religious congregations who operated the Magdalen institutions.
My Department, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General whose role is to provide legal advice, has prepared a draft submission for the Government on the matter which I am now considering.