Thursday, 18 September 2014
Department of Justice and Equality
141. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent of compliance among religious orders and institutions in relation to the transfer of records and archives relating to the Magdalene laundry redress process; the orders which have yet to comply; the number of requests that have been made in each case; the options that are available to the redress board to ensure that records are made available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35036/14]
The four relevant Religious Congregations are cooperating fully with the scheme and are providing all the available records and verifications when requested. Decisions have been made on 80% of the 770 applications received to date, and so far, 442 applicants have received their lump sum payments at a cost of over €16m.
In cases where the relevant religious congregation have incomplete or no record for an applicant my officials carry out a thorough examination, checking whatever records are available from other departments, agencies and institutions to support the claim. Each application is assessed on an individual basis taking into account any available records or documents as well as the applicant's testimony. The Deputy will also be aware that if the applicant disagrees with this assessment she can avail of an internal review process and also an independent appeal process which involves a review by Ombudsman's Office.
142. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the State's duty to uphold the constitutional right to education in cases where individuals who were committed to Magdalene Laundries were not considered the de jure legal responsibility of the State and therefore may have been categorised as voluntarily institutionalised, but who none the less were, according to the McAleese report, held in seriously abusive and exploitative situations without basic education; if this failure is being taken into account by the redress board and how so; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35038/14]
Mr Justice John Quirke was asked by the Government to advise on an appropriate scheme for those women who were admitted to and worked in the Magdalen laundries taking into account all the factors that might apply to such women and to such a scheme. As part of that process he undertook an extensive consultation process with the women concerned and with the relevant advocacy groups. Mr Justice Quirke specifically took into account the issue of education not received, see point 2.09 of his report, when making his recommendations for a scheme and in calculating the nature and amount of ex-gratia payments to be made. His recommendations have been accepted by the Government.