Speaking in the Dáil this morning Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD raised a number of outstanding issues with the Taoiseach regarding the Magdalene Laundries redress package. Disappointingly the Taoiseach was unable to confirm when the necessary legislation to provide medical cards to surviving women will be progressed by government.
The Dublin Central TD said:
“Two weeks ago the cabinet finally signed off on the Quirke recommendations for the Magdalene Redress Scheme. This progress whilst slow was welcomed however a number of significant issues remain outstanding.
“On November 7th the Justice Minister stated that surviving women will be entitled to enhanced medical services similar to that available to the holders of the Health (Amendment) Act 1996 card, but that legislation is required to deliver on this commitment. Alan Shatter has made no firm commitment as to when this legislation will be progressed by his cabinet colleague James Reilly, and the Taoiseach was unable to shed any further light on the matter in the Dáil this morning.
“Government is poised to rush through the Oireachtas a pension’s bill over the coming weeks to conclude before the Christmas recess. It will be bitterly disappointing to the elderly Magdalene women that government is unwilling to demonstrate the same sense of urgency for the necessary legislation to provide them with the health supports they need.
“Minister Shatter made no reference to the surviving women living outside the state in his statement of November 7th or the implications of redress payments and supports on these women’s current social welfare entitlements from the country they currently reside in.
“There are a number of real concerns regarding the delivery of the Quirke recommendations and indeed on the current work of the schemes implementation team. To be frank the Department of Justice does not have a good track record for its treatment of these women and in that context the Justice Minister’s refusal to facilitate a Dáil debate on the Quirke recommendations is deeply worrying.” ENDS