Magdalene Laundry Survivors still await Apology, Restorative Justice and Redress
Dr. Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection has called for ‘acknowledgement, redress and accountability’ for Magdalene Laundry survivors in the Fifth Report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection. The comments been welcomed by Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group who are campaigning for an acknowledgment of involvement, an apology, and a government funded redress scheme to include statutory pensions to reflect years of unpaid work in the Laundries. The position of the State has long been that the State did not oversee the Magdalene Laundries and was therefore not responsible for any wrongdoing or redress to survivors.
However Dr. Shannon goes on to state in the Report that the right to redress and remedy still exist even where the State was not directly ‘overseeing slavery’ and that to ensure the State’s compliance with International Human Rights Law in relation to the matter, accountability and redress would have to be dealt with. The Inter Departmental Committee investigating the States involvement with the Magdalene Laundries headed by Senator Martin McAleese was set up to establish the level of involvement by the State in the running of the Laundries.
Although the publishing of the final report of the Committee has been delayed, it is expected to be released shortly and to show irrefutable evidence of the States involvement in the running of the Laundries. It would seem therefore that the State will finally be forced to acknowledge its involvement with the Laundries and should finally result in the long awaited apology and redress due to the vulnerable and aging survivors of ‘slavery’ in the Laundries. Laundry survivors or family members of survivors who would like to obtain advice and discuss their circumstances can contact Etain Boyce in strictest confidence.