Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Department of Justice and Equality
78. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if his Department received a list of 107 women in the Galway Magdalen laundry in 1952 from the diocese of Galway in 2014 after being informed of its existence by a person (details supplied); the way in which he will ensure access to material for victims and their representatives as per the recommendation of UNCAT issued 11 August 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51731/17]
I can confirm that my Department received the document referred to in this Parliamentary Question. This was provided to the Department on the basis that the information would be held in the strictest confidence and referred to only as a possible means of verification if an applicant to the ex-gratia scheme was resident in the Magdalen Institution in Galway. There were only limited records surviving for this Magdalen Institution so the information was invaluable in processing the applications from the women for their ex gratia payments and other benefits.
In relation to access to material in general, the Deputy will be aware that the McAleese report specifically states that it was agreed that the most appropriate course of action would be that the archive of the Committee’s work would be deposited with An Taoiseach and that is where the archive is held. The records provided by the religious congregations concerned were returned to them and are not part of the State archive.
The Deputy will I am sure appreciate that the records held in the State archive and by the religious congregations contain very sensitive personal data.
With regard to the private religious archives, I am advised that the congregations have stated that any woman who has been in their care, will be given access to their own records. As regards general access, that is a matter for the congregations themselves subject to the Data Protection Acts.
In relation to the State archive there are no plans to make it available publically at this time and, at all events, the records are subject to the Data Protection Acts.