Taoiseach must deliver on three month deadline for review of Magdalene Laundry Redress Scheme – Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald today welcomed a commitment by the Taoiseach that a review of applications to the Magdalene Redress Scheme refused by the Department of Justice will be completed within the next three months.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“In response to questions I raised in the Dáil today the Taoiseach confirmed that the Government accepts in full the recommendations made by the Ombudsman following the Office’s investigation into the Magdalene Laundry redress scheme.

“It is important to note that the Ombudsman’s investigation was a result of complaints lodged with the Office by women whose applications to the Magdalene Redress Scheme were rejected by the Department of Justice and Equality on deeply unjust grounds.

“Even after the investigation was complete and the recommendations prepared, the first instinct of the Department of Justice and Equality was to push back.

“In evidence to the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality in January the Ombudsman stated that in his ten years as Ombudsman, he had never reached a point where a Department had, prior to publication of a report, absolutely and categorically refused to engage in the process of accepting and implementing the recommendations made.

“The Ombudsman’s reflection to the Justice Committee very much echoes the experiences of the excluded women. I welcome the Taoiseach’s commitment that the review of the refused applications will be completed in the next three months and he and his Minister must ensure this deadline is met.

“I am concerned for the small number of women who await their redress due to a lack of capacity. They and their families are particularly reliant on the Justice Department and the Court Services to progress wardship applications and support in the application process. The Department cannot again be found wanting again.

“It will also be important that the Department of Justice and Equality conduct a review of the Scheme to include a consultation with women who applied to it prior to developing guidance for future schemes as recommended by the Ombudsman.”