Justice group demands laundries inquiry

Justice group demands laundries inquiry

By Claire O’Sullivan

Thursday, June 24, 2010

THE JUSTICE for Magdalenes group (JFM) has asked the Irish Human Rights Commission to conduct an inquiry into the state’s refusal to acknowledge their role in the laundries.

Representatives from the JFM group met with the IHRC and with Amnesty International chief executive Colm O’Gorman in Dublin yesterday.

The IHRC has agreed to examine the arguments put forward by JFM before deciding whether to conduct an inquiry. JFM is seeking the inquiry under Article 13 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which provides a right to remedy if rights and freedoms are violated.

The advocacy group for survivors of the Magdalene laundries has long argued that even though the laundries were run as private institutions, this does not “absolve the state of responsibility to protect the women and girls from abuse endured”.

They also argue the state “knew the nature and function of the Magdalene laundries” and that it had a “duty to protect all the women and girls in the laundries”.

Senior board members of JFM said they had no choice but to approach the IHRC as the Government has repeatedly refused to take any responsibility for what happened in these institutions. This is despite JFM finding documentation proving the courts service and probation officers sent women to these homes while the Department of Education knew that children were housed there and were not attending school. The Department of Health was also paying capitation grants for “problem girls” sent to such laundries.

A spokesman last night said “the state had a constitutional duty to educate all children and to care for children in cases of parental failure” yet the abuse that these women and children suffered “amounted to slavery and forced labour”.

JFM is seeking an apology from the state for the abuse that occurred at the Magdalene laundries and also a distinct redress scheme.

A petition containing 1,000 signatures was handed in to the Department of the Taoiseach earlier this week.

Fianna Fáil TDs Tom Kitt and Michael Kennedy delivered to Taoiseach Brian Cowen the first signatures from an online petition demanding a state apology and a distinct redress scheme for survivors of the Magdalene laundries.

Signatories to the petition include people of more than 40 nationalities. Many have also posted comments expressing outrage at the Government’s failure to correct a historic injustice.

It is now nearly one year since the JFM campaign began. The group has met with representatives from the departments of Education, Justice and Health.

JFM advisory committee member Professor James M Smith last night reminded Mr Cowen that this is a “time sensitive issue”.

“Many survivors in this community are elderly; some are nearing the end of their lives. They deserve a form of restorative justice. An apology would mean a lot to this community of survivors,” he said.

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Thursday, June 24, 2010

  1. dead man walking

    indeed mossie and i do hope justice prevails

  2. DEAD MAN WALKING, IN RESPONSE TO YOUR COMMENT ABOUT THE MAGDALEN LAUNDRIES. GOD FORBID, BUT IF SOME MINISTER DID HAVE A CHILD IN THOSE HORRIBLE PLACES, YOU CAN BET THAT THERE WOULD BE OUTCRY IN THE DAIL TILL THERE WAS SOME SORT OF RECOMPENSE. THAT YOU CAN BE SURE OF.

    I REALLY DO HOPE THAT THESE LADIES WHO WERE INCARCERATED IN THOSE HELL HOLES, WILL EVENTUALLY HAVE THEIR DAY.

    THIS GOVERNMENT CAN BAIL OUT THE BANKS TO THE TUNE OF BILLIONS OF EUROS WITH THE STROKE OF A PEN, AND SWINDLE SURVIVORS OUT OF MILLIONS, AND COULDN’T CARE LESS OF THE PLIGHT OF THOUSANDS OF MEN AND WOMEN WHO WENT THROUGH THESE TERRIBLE PLACES. MAY THE WORLD SEE THESE IDIOTIC MINISTERS FOR WHAT THEY ARE.

  3. there has been no justice yet in ireland for the Magdalenes it does not surprise me i was hoping they would finally get heard.
    no one in ireland can compare what they call hard work to the hard working Magdalenes group. yet these and the children of industrial schools have never been paid.
    they should be giving a very high pension and compensation for their sufferings.
    lets not forget the abuse in these fecken laundries also.
    there is no such thing as a childhood in ireland in the past present or future.
    children are the last on the list of priorities, far too much greed has destroyed this civilization.
    how can people in ireland think of people across the world when on their doorstep children are even dying.
    beats me.
    has the economy as it is, is not working why GREED.

    WHERE THERE IS NO HEART THERE IS NO COUNTRY

  4. bernadette cook

    well said pauline fully agree they went through hell ,i think they should have been taken on board in the first place ,if fact they were in hell ! same as the rest of us ,and in respect too these girls lets hope their cases dont take as long as our did as its a long hard road we still tread .

  5. it is also part of the history of ireland, all governments gave thier attention to politics, because of this no attention was used on the control of what was going on under thier noses. and these women are mothers. many did not even see thier children , its disgracful that thay are forgotton. thay deserve all our respect.

  6. My God how sad that there is no justice for the Magdalene ladies this can not be correct,surely something has to be done to sort out this dreadful catastrophe.

  7. dead man walking

    just read there getting f**k all . unfortunatley for the women no goverment ministers family were sent there . so what do they care …………

  8. yes about time people deserve to be heard just as the rest of us.

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