Reparations for Magdalene women being considered

The Irish Times – Thursday, May 12, 2011

MICHAEL O’REGAN

THE DEPARTMENT of Justice was considering proposals for a reparation scheme for the Justice for Magdalenes group, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil.

Mr Kenny said the Magdalene laundries were not State institutions.

“One of the 10 Magdalene laundries was used by the Department of Justice for a period from 1960 onwards for the remand of 16- to 21-year-old women for short periods pending trial,’’ he said.

“Since the foundation of the State, a condition of probation sometimes imposed by a court on women found to have committed criminal offences was that they reside in an institution such as a Magdalene laundry for a period of three years.’’ He said the Department of Justice and Equality had not received any complaints from individuals charged with criminal offences who were remanded or sent on probation orders to any of the institutions that were run by religious orders.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said it was a good initiative of previous taoisigh to establish dialogue between the churches, other faith communities and the office of the taoiseach. “Many of these churches and faith groups now see the taoiseach’s office as a protector or promoter of diversity and tolerance,’’ he added.

“In this context, many of the churches, including minority churches, will be worried about the impact of Government announcements and decisions, particularly the impact of Government policy on their schools.’’

Mr Kenny said he had had no consultations with the churches but he expected to do so.

Mr Martin asked if the Taoiseach had consultations or discussions with the churches in regard to faith formation in schools.

“I do not accept that instruction in regard to holy Communion and Confirmation is undermining literacy standards in our schools, which I understand was suggested by the Minister for Education and Skills,’’ he added.

“I tend to agree with the view of the former taoiseach, John Bruton, that this is a completely over-the-top analysis of the literacy issues, which arises from more profound issues and requires deeper analysis.’’

  1. Much depends on how long they take to consider this issue. Many of these ladies are ageing now so it might be better to fix a time limit on the considering.

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