Magdalene apology must be reinforced by action

Bethany Homes survivors must also be included

The heartfelt apology in the Dáil yesterday by Taoiseach Enda Kenny must be the beginning, not the end, of the government response to the McAleese Report says the WP.


Mary Diskin, justice and equality spokesperson for the WP, stated: “It was clear in the Dáil yesterday that the apology offered by Taoiseach Enda Kenny was both genuine and heartfelt. It has been welcomed both by the Magdalene women themselves, their support groups, and their surviving families”.


“What is important at this stage” continued Mary Diskin “is that this necessary first step is built upon with an appropriate redress scheme. We would also echo the call of the Tánaiste that the religious orders, who profited from the slave labour of these women in their commercial enterprises, must dig into their coffers for compensation”.


“We believe that there are certain vital components to a proper redress scheme. It must be adequately funded. It must have clear and easy access. It must take into account that filing systems and paper records may be patchy or largely absent for many of the survivors of specific institutions”.


“For the first 75 years of the existence of this state the Magdalene laundries operated with the blessing of state, church and society.  Similar arrangements applied to the Bethany Homes.  Thousands of women suffered terrible abuse and cruelty inside their walls and continued to suffer shame, stigma, denial and degradation even when they were released. Hopefully these women in their old age will now be treated with dignity and humanity. Hopefully we will not see the state drag victims through the courts and to the very steps of the Four Courts (as for example happened in the Hep-C scandal) before they are given their just entitlements”.


Issued 19th February 2013

Peace, Work, Democracy & Class Politics