Mary Lou McDonald welcomes Justice Minister’s decision to reverse Departments exclusion of Magdalene women from redress scheme

Sinn Féin Dublin Central TD Mary Lou McDonald has welcomed the Justice Minister’s decision to reverse Department’s exclusion of some women from the Magdalene Redress Scheme and called on him to expedite the implementation of the Ombudsman’s report recommendations regarding the Scheme.

The Sinn Féin leader said:

“In November last year the Ombudsman published a 120 page scathing report following an investigation into the administration of the Magdalene Laundries Redress Scheme.

“The investigation was undertaken following complaints to the Ombudsman from women who had lived and suffered in a Magdalene Laundry yet whose applications to the Scheme were refused as they had been first admitted to a training centre or industrial school attached to the Laundry and not the Laundry itself.

“In his report the Ombudsman describes the women’s exclusion from the Scheme as manifestly unfair and that there was maladministration in the way the criteria were interpreted by the Department. The report recommended that the Justice Department reconsider the relevant women’s applications with a view to admitting them to the Scheme.

“It is important to note the initial push-back from the Department to the findings of the Ombudsman’s investigation. In evidence to the Oireachtas Justice Committee in January he stated that in his 10 years as an Ombudsman he has never reached the point where a Department has, prior to the publication of a report, absolutely and categorically refused to engage with the process around accepting and implementing the recommendations.

“Today’s decision by the Justice Ministers to implement the report recommendations is welcome and he now needs to put his shoulder to the wheel in implementing all in full.

“At every turn the Government has to be dragged to the point of delivery on its own commitments following the state’s apology to the Magdalene women five years ago. This needs to change.” ENDS