Compensate the Magdalene Women

HereWeGoAgain

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Response toMinister Zappone's Statement by Senator Ivana Bacik:
I welcome the Minister back to the Chamber. I welcome those present in the Gallery for this important debate. I acknowledge that the issues we are debating relating to the second interim report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes are closely related to the issues we debated earlier on the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill. Both relate to Ireland's shameful history of treatment of women and children. Both relate to our history of confinement and concealment of births outside of marriage. Both relate to the appalling stigma that the State allowed to encapsulate or enshroud women and children for so many decades of our history, right up to the recent past in the 1990s. It is important to have the two debates together.

I acknowledge the work of the local historian, Catherine Corless, whose painstaking work in unearthing the horrific reality of the Tuam mother and baby home gave rise to the establishment of the commission in 2015. Her work in taking out the death certificates of each of the 796 children who had died at the Tuam mother and baby home gave rise to the commission and to such immense public outcry about the scandal of Tuam.

The three-person commission is chaired by Judge Yvonne Murphy and includes Professor Mary Daly and Dr. William Duncan. I pay tribute to their immense work and expertise. I know Dr. William Duncan personally. He taught me family law and he has taught many generations of students at Trinity. He has unparalleled expertise on family and adoption law. Indeed, I quoted him earlier during the debate on the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill. Professor Mary Daly's historical expertise is singularly important. Judge Yvonne Murphy had done a great deal of work previously on unearthing scandals around institutional abuse in Ireland. She has unparalleled expertise. The commission is doing valuable work.

I wish to deal with the recommendations in the interim report. First, I acknowledge the scope of the work undertaken within the current terms of reference. The terms of reference include the 14 so-called mother and baby homes as well the four county homes. I note Senator Boyhan's comment in this regard. The report refers to 70,000 women and more children having gone through those homes and institutions. It is a vast amount of work. The first interim report was produced in July 2016. At that point, more than 500 people had expressed an interest in engaging with the confidential committee. The commission hopes to engage in a comprehensive historical analysis covering the decades from 1922 to 1998. This is an enormous body of work that will do immense service to the State when we see the final report published in February 2018.

I wish to turn to the issues addressed in the second interim report. There are three discrete and contained issues. The first relates to children who were unaccompanied in these homes. The commissions says it understands a substantial number of children were resident in these institutions without their mothers. The commission is dealing with the exclusion of these children from the residential institutions redress scheme. The commission makes a compelling case for the inclusion of these children in the redress case. It makes the clear point that one of the institutions covered by the Act relating to the redress scheme, St. Patrick's on the Navan Road, is also under investigation by the commission as a mother and baby home. The commission maintains it is simply not logical to include St. Patrick's in the redress scheme but not other institutions under the scheme where they relate to unaccompanied children. The children who were resident in those homes without their mothers are clearly in the same position as the children who were included in the redress scheme.

The commission has referred back to the debates in the Dáil and Seanad at the time of the establishment of the redress scheme. It has made that point that the Minister said at the time that inclusion in the scheme did not imply that a complaint of abuse or a finding of abuse had been made.

In the light of the clear and logical finding of the commission it was disappointing to see the Government decision to exclude these people from redress. These people are adults now and some are of advanced age. This must be revisited. Others have pointed this out as well. At the least, it must be revisited when the final report of the commission is made in 2018. As the commission has clearly said, inclusion in the redress scheme did not imply a complaint of abuse.

I am speaking on my experience and I acknowledge my experience in this matter as a barrister who has represented many survivors of abuse before the redress board and as someone who has been critical of many aspects of the board.
Seanad Éireann - 17/May/2017 Prelude
 


HereWeGoAgain

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Mentioned by Senator Devine yesterday in Seanad Eireann

In the case of Tuam, a note of a teleconference call on October 12, 2012, reveals that senior management in the HSE felt what had been discovered warranted a state inquiry.

The call involved then assistant director of the Children and Family Service at the HSE, Phil Garland, and then head of the medical intelligence unit, Davida De La Harpe, expressing concern that 1,000 children had been trafficked from the Tuam mother and baby home in what could “prove to be a scandal that dwarfs other, more recent issues with the Church and State”.

These concerns had been raised by the principal social worker for adoption in HSE West, who had found “a large archive of photographs, documentation, and correspondence relating to children sent for adoption to the USA” and “documentation in relation to discharges and admissions to psychiatric institutions in the Western area”.

The archive contained letters from the Tuam mother and baby home to parents, asking for money for the upkeep of their children, and notes that the duration of stay for children might have been prolonged by the order for financial reasons.

It also contained letters to parents asking for money for the upkeep of some children who had already been discharged or who had died.

The social worker, “working in her own time and on her own dollar”, had compiled a list of “up to 1,000 names”, but said it was “not clear yet whether all of these relate to the ongoing examination of the Magdalene system, or whether they relate to the adoption of children by parents, possibly in the USA”.

Those on the conference call raise the possibility that if there is evidence of trafficking, “it must have been facilitated by doctors, social workers, etc, and a number of these health professionals may still be working in the system”.

The note concludes by stating that, due to the gravity of what was being found, an “early warning letter” be written to the national director of the HSE’s quality and patient safety division, Philip Crowley, suggesting “that this goes all the way up to the minister”.

“It is more important to send this up to the minister as soon as possible: with a view to an inter-departmental committee and a fully fledged, fully resourced forensic investigation and state inquiry,” concludes the note.

A week later, in a separate report sent by Mr Garland to Mr Crowley, and which CC’d then national director of Children and Family Services, Gordon Jeyes, and Ms De la Harpe, Dr Declan McKeown, of the medical intelligence unit, outlines concerns about death rates at both Tuam and Bessborough.

Dr McKeown notes that the infant mortality rate for Tuam was “approximately 20%-25%, similar to that recorded in Bessborough”. He also raised questions as to the veracity of such death rates
Read more here
Tuam and Bessborough: Houses of horror | Irish Examiner
 

Socratus O' Pericles

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Women were wrongly denied redress over Magdalen Laundries new report finds

The Ombudsman’s findings were:
The DJE would have been aware of links between the units where the women lived and the Magdalens
The DJE gave undue weight to evidence supplied by the religious congregations involved
It was ‘manifestly unfair’ of the DJE to exclude women on the basis they might not have been able to apply for the Residential Institutions Redress scheme, which had been set up 10 years prior to address a different injustice
Eligibility criteria were not disclosed to the women whose applications were denied
There was no interview process established to until well after a year after applications were receive


Official Ireland and the religious congregations are full of money grubbing hateful types.


If their hell were to exist they’d all burn in it.
 

Cruimh

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Socratus O' Pericles

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Earlier this month, the Irish Examiner revealed that a prominent US-based academic wrote to the UN on numerous occasions since 2013 claiming that material relating to the Magdalene Laundries located in a Galway archive called some findings of the McAleese Report “into question on a number of rather serious fronts”.

James Smith of Boston College wrote to UNCAT in November 2013 to inform it of an archive of material he had discovered in the Galway Diocesan Archives in the Spring of 2012 which related to the Sisters of Mercy Magdalene Laundry in Galway.

Prof Smith had brought the relevant files to the attention of the McAleese Committee and they were examined by the Committee.

However, documents obtained by the Irish Examiner show that following the publication of the McAleese Report in February 2013 and UNCAT’s subsequent one-year follow-up, Prof Smith wrote to the body’s vice-chair, Felice Gaer, claiming the McAleese Report “fails to adequately reflect, and indeed mischaracterizes, the material in the Galway Diocesan Archive”.

In particular, Prof Smith pointed to financial records he claimed “contradict” the McAleese Report’s conclusions on the profitability of such institutions.

Prof Smith outlined the archive contained correspondence detailing physical abuse and medical neglect.

He pointed to letters by the reverend mother in the 1940s and 1950s to the Bishop justifying disciplinary practices and defending decisions not to release women into the care of their family. The archive also contains evidence of gardaí being called to remove family members from the door of Galway Magdalene Laundry.

Flanagan:


Mammon 1
god 0.
 

StarryPlough01

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Women were wrongly denied redress over Magdalen Laundries new report finds


The Ombudsman’s findings were:

The DJE would have been aware of links between the units where the women lived and the Magdalens

The DJE gave undue weight to evidence supplied by the religious congregations involved

It was ‘manifestly unfair’ of the DJE to exclude women on the basis they might not have been able to apply for the
Residential Institutions Redress scheme, which had been set up 10 years prior to address a different injustice

Eligibility criteria were not disclosed to the women whose applications were denied

There was no interview process established to until well after a year after applications were received.

Official Ireland and the religious congregations are full of money grubbing hateful types.

If their hell were to exist they’d all burn in it.


Magdalene Women - Ombudsman Peter Tyndall's Report, November 2017:


Objections by Department of Justice to Magdalen redress investigation 'disingenuous' - Ombudsman

The Department of Justice had denied the womens’ applications saying that they had not lived in one of the 12 institutions covered by the scheme.

Many of the women in question were younger than the majority of the women in the Laundries, and as such, though spending much of their time in the laundry in the company of the same women, were registered as being officially resident elsewhere, in training facilities linked to the main laundry for example.
The evidence shows that these women should have been included and that there were flaws in the way the scheme was administered.
The report has recommended that any denied applications be reconsidered, with a view to their being accepted, where there is evidence that a woman worked in a listed laundry but was recorded as having been ‘admitted’ elsewhere.

Full Report -


Opportunity Lost
An investigation by the Ombudsman into the administration of the Magdalen Restorative Justice Scheme
(Under Section 4 of the Ombudsman Act 1980, as amended) November 2017


http://www.ombudsman.ie/en/Publications/Investigation-Reports/government-departments-other-public-bodies/Magdalen-Report/Opportunity-Lost.pdf

Foreword

The incarceration of women in the Magdalen laundries and the forced labour to which they were subjected is one of the sorriest episodes in our history.

It was exacerbated by the failure of Irish society to act over many years to highlight and tackle the injustice suffered by these women. The heartfelt apology of former Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the creation of a restorative justice scheme were intended to reflect the shame of the nation and offer some acknowledgement and recompense to the women.

This report looks at the administration of that restorative justice scheme. When I first began my investigation, my focus was primarily on the way in which the eligibility criteria for the Scheme were interpreted. As a result of the Department’s narrow interpretation some women who lived in the convents and worked in the laundries were excluded from admission to the Scheme.


——> I should stress that I am not seeking to add new institutions to the Scheme. However, I have seen a significant amount of evidence which shows that some of the Magdalen laundries were inextricably linked with other units attached to the laundries or located on the same grounds and should be considered to be one and the same institution.


——> As my investigation progressed, however, I also discovered a flawed administrative process. I uncovered a process where the women had to apply for the scheme without being told what the criteria were and where great reliance was placed on the congregations’ records to the exclusion of other evidence.


——> Perhaps of most concern, I learnt how the Department failed to provide for those women who lack capacity to look after their own affairs and who are still waiting to receive payments under the Scheme.


A significant number of these women remain in the care of the congregations. They may not have been able to be in the Dáil the evening the Taoiseach delivered his apology and may never have had an opportunity to tell their story. They matter no less for this.


This investigation is not about extending the Scheme beyond what was approved by Government. At its heart is a restorative justice scheme which was much-welcomed and with the stated purpose of contributing, insofar as was possible, towards healing and reconciliation. Such a scheme must be interpreted and applied as widely and as generously as possible with no place for exclusion on narrow or technical grounds.


Unfortunately, a scheme intended to bring healing and reconciliation has, for some, served instead to cause further distress. This needs to be put right. The women who worked in the laundries covered by the Scheme should be admitted to it. All evidence about whether, and for how long, women were working in the laundries should be pursued and taken into account. Those who have already been deemed eligible but who do not have the capacity to engage with the Scheme should receive their payments as a matter of urgency.

The existence and use of the Magdalen laundries was a scandal. The restorative justice scheme created an opportunity to belatedly offer some redress to the women who lived and worked in the laundries. This opportunity was lost in respect of some of those women whose cases I considered. It is now time for the State in administering the scheme to reflect the generosity of spirit which characterised the official apology.

_____________________________________




*A TWELVE YEAR OLD MAGDALENE CHILD SLAVE MAUREEN SULLIVAN , WHO WAS TRAFFICKED BETWEEN INSTITUTIONS...* :evil::mad:


STARRY: I've written about survivor Maureen Sullivan before. She was the child slave who provided evidence there was a tunnel connecting the Magdalene laundry with St Aidan's Industrial School. Maureen worked at the Magdalene gulag during the day and only slept at St Aidan's Industrial School at nighttime When the inspectors came to visit the laundry, underage Maureen was hidden in the tunnel by the nuns. Another older Magdalene woman remembered Maureen's time in the hellhole (Good Shepherd Laundry, New Ross, Co Wexford). I recall Maureen then received redress that had been denied to her.

Maureen's life from an early age was unimaginable - she was sexually abused by her stepfather. But ... little did Maureen know what would lie ahead for her in the Magdalene gulag.

Maureen was too small to reach up to the heavy machinery, so the nuns had a especially made box for her to stand on.

You can still see the child in Maureen who recounts how she couldn't understand why the nuns took away her new wooden pencil box that her mother had given her on parting. Maureen said you had to slide the lid open (to remove pencils…). Maureen's mother gave this pencil box to her daughter because she believed Maureen was going to be given an education. Maureen never saw a school book.

Her day began at 6.00 am and finished at 9.00 pm, seven days a week. She worked in laundry, scrubbed and polished floors, made rosary beads and Aran sweaters. :evil:

She couldn't play with other children, she couldn't communicate with others…



Survivor: Maureen Sullivan

Interviewer: Sinead Pembroke


O’Donnell, K., S. Pembroke and C. McGettrick. (2013) “Oral History of Maureen Sullivan”. Magdalene Institutions: Recording an Oral and Archival History. Government of Ireland Collaborative Research Project, Irish Research Council, pp.1-52.


31 July 2013
http://jfmresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/MAGOHP38.pdf


Well, my father died before I was born, I had two brothers and my father died in February 1952 and I was born in August (1952) And my mother remarried not long after my father had died and then the second family came along. So my child...childhood was very horrific; I had a step-father who used to punch us. If we just walked by him, he’d give us a punch so my mother couldn’t see it and I think we kind of grew up with that, being thumped and punched,and we were the last to be put sitting at the table.

And we always had to do all the chores like empty the buckets because you...people used to go to the toilet in the buckets in them days..

...we had to empty ‘em and we were only tiny, and it used to kind of spill over us , and it was just awful and there was no way of washing yourself. And we were quite poor, my grandmother on my father’s side really loved us, she used to come in and see us and that…that was the only good memory we have...



[Only good memory] when we were children, is of our granny coming to see us or if we went out for a weekend to her. Other than that we had no toys, we were never taught how to read or write, and then at the age of eight he started to sexually do things to me. And I never told anybody, I never said anything about it. I was confused, I didn’t know what was happening me…


And then the following day she just said–the priest was called–and the priest… I know I always remember the words is that we weren’t a family unit and the nun said, ‘Maureen is going to get a good education, we’re going to send her
to a lovely place in New Ross ands he can come back with her head held high to Carlow’. And my mother went down… I remember it was Children’s Allowance day, whatever that was way back in them years, but she said to me, she says,‘ it’s Children’s Allowance,’she said, ‘I’ll go down to the post office and I’ll collect the money and buy you a pencil case ’. And it was one of the new pencil cases after coming out, you slid the little lid back.

Well I was delighted with it and this laundry van pulled in and I had a little case with a kind of a s...broken strap around it to keep it kind of tied together and my books in a little bag and my new pencil case and I was put into this laundry van with a man, strange man, didn’t know who he was and he was belonging to the laundry, the nuns sent him up for me, and he took me to New Ross. Pulled into the yard in New
Ross in the Good Shepherd Convent, the Magdalene Laundry, and two nuns came out to meet me and I got out real friendly, not knowing any different, what was ahead of me. And I said, ‘wait till you see my pencil case, it’s really, really pretty and there’s flowers… a flower on the front of it and it disappears when you cl...when you open it and then it comes back when you close it’. And all this nun...she said ,‘don’t be so ridiculous’ and took my books, took the pencil case and that was the last I seen of them and I was showed around the Magdalene Laundry.

Never had a birthday, never had a Christmas in it. The State lies even in my papers that I was home for Christmas, I went home on a Christmas Eve. Untrue, my mother wouldn’t have had no way of taking me home for Christmas Eve, there was no transport.

W...I was shown around the laundry ,the first day that I went there I was shown around the laundry. All these terrified looking women, really scary looking women, all grey looking ,and short, cropped hair and…oh it was very, very frightening.

And then next day I was up very early and they thought I was gone, alls I know is I went [through] a load of corridors to where I was sleeping. And then the next morning I was up very early, I know there was other children in the dormitory but I never seen any of them because I was gone so early and I’d be over to the Magdalene side. And I had to scrub the floor in the chapel and dry it 3 and then it had to be polished and then we had to...you know, make sure everyt...that everything was polished and done right.



SP Sorry how old...you were twelve?



MOS Yeah.

SP What year was this?

MOS I think it was ninet...we’re...see we’re not sure because…

SP
Yeah.

MOS…they’re lying about times that we went in there…

SP Okay.

MOS ...th...they’ve lied quite a bit about…

SP Hmm.

MOS…James, [pseudonym] well, the solicitors found that they tell lies and they change papers about the time that you went in there. And I think I might have been even a little bit over twelve, but they were trying to say I was thirteen, but you’re not thirteen until the day that you’re thirteen. But…

SP So we’ll say it’s around 1964, would it be?

MOS It was ’64…

SP Yeah.

MOS …yeah I think it was ’64, yeah.


And so then I was showed this...back down to the laundry that they showed me the following day and then they took me to the farm and…no sorry I went to Mass, came back and had a little bit of porridge , that was very watery porridge, it didn’t taste nice, not like the stuff you get off your granny, and a mug of watered down milk.

And then they brought me down to the laundry ,and I couldn’t reach the colander [calendar, roller iron] that’s what they used to call it, or …calendar or colander, some people … called it colander, and they took me down to the farm and the man measured me and he made a box for me and they brought up the box and that was my job, was to stand up at the calendar feeding the sheets in. And there’d be two girls at the other side taking them off and there was another girl over at the other side feeding the sheet in with me.

And I just did that all day every day, and I thought, ‘oh is this ever going to change?’ None of the women was ...
if they did try to talk to you, there was a nun sitting watching us in charge and you’d get a dig of the ro...the
big rosary beads into the ribs. And I was… didn’t know any different and … of course you learn, because you’re getting beaten up so much you learn, and I’d be saying,‘ excuse me,’ to the women. And
...oh I was told my name was Frances‘ your name is Frances from here...

SP So you had your name changed?

Yeah, my name was changed to Frances and ‘you answer to Frances now’. And I couldn’t get used to that ,so the...
most of he beatings and the thumping was over that, I couldn’t answer to Frances, it took me days to get used…



to it. And then if I said to any of the g…the women that was there, ‘excuse me’, the nun would come down and she’d say, ‘you’re not to be talking, you’re not allowed to talk to these, these are penitents’ . And I was going, ‘excuse me Sister, I d…’ ‘It’s not Sister it's Mother’. And I’d go, ‘excuse me Mother, I don’t know what penitents are, what does penitents mean?’ ‘Never mind, you don’t want to know’. And then of course it was late at night you see when you’d be going15

MOS And I just said to her, I said,‘ and what did you do with your baby? ’And she says,‘oh the nuns took it’. And I says, ‘what will they do with it?’ And she just said,

I don’t know,’ she says,‘ what they’re going to do,’ but she started crying. ...

And the nun then came in and she says, ‘no talking, have yez been talking?’ And we said,‘no’. You see they were watching you all the time,you couldn’t talk, you couldn’t communicate… with anybody or th… else they’d have a trustee,3 they had trustees there as well…

SP Okay.

MOS… watching you.

SP And who was a trustee?

MOS They’d be quite old, they’d be there for a long time. I know in …in New Ross it was a lady by the name of
Hannah [pseudonym]…

SP Okay.

MOS… and in Athy it was a very old lady by the name of Rose [pseudonym]. ….

SP Oh, so they were just… say they would have gone in like yourself or something…3 The
term ‘trustee’ was possibly used in Athy. Generally, ‘consecrated Magdalenes’ were known as ‘auxiliaries’ in Good
Shepherd Magdalene Laundries.

TO BE CONTINUED…



Magdalene Laundries: Survivor stories - BBC News

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/younger-magdalene-survivor-to-seek-compensation-for-loss-of-right-to-education-1.1580718

Magdalene Laundry Survivor Claims Life 'Destroyed' By Nuns


________

'The pain never goes away'
 

loner

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UN committee urges state to set up Magdalene probe

By Jennifer Hough

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A UN committee urged the Government to set up an independent investigation into human rights violations in the Magdalene Laundries and give redress to the women who suffered because of the institutions.

The United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) said the women should be given an apology as an acknowledgement of what happened so they could "get their dignity back".

Members of UNCAT yesterday asked government representatives in Geneva about its intentions to investigate the Magdalene laundries abuse promptly, impartially and comprehensively, in accordance with its obligations under Articles 12 and 13 of the convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The committee also requested information from the state as to how it will ensure redress and compensation for the women who suffered in the laundries, in line with its obligation under Article 14 of the convention.

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, calling on the Irish Government to act immediately and initiate an independent investigation into human rights violations suffered by the women.

JFM spokeswoman, Claire McGettrick, said the state could fulfil its responsibilities by obtaining reparations from the Catholic Church for its part in the women’s abuse. She said the majority of survivors are elderly, and adversarial models of inquiry and redress would have the opposite effect of adding to their pain and sense of injustice.

Maeve O’Rourke, who presented JFM’s submission to the committee, said UNCAT, along with the Irish Human Rights Commission, had taken an extremely serious view of the abuse of women and girls in the Magdalene Laundries and the state’s responsibility for it.

"Yesterday’s comments by the committee members unequivocally recognise the rights of the women who are still alive to an investigation, an apology, redress and treatment with dignity."

Meanwhile, a delegation from the Bethany Home survivors group will today meet Education Minister Ruairi Quinn at Leinster House

Derek Leinster, chairman of the group, said he was very grateful to the minister for agreeing to meet with them. The delegation will put its case to the minister in the hope that the Bethany Home is included in the Redress scheme, which awards compensation to victims of institutional abuse.

Last year unmarked graves of 219 Bethany children who died between 1922-49, were discovered in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin 8, by Bethany researcher Niall Meehan.


This appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Read more: UN committee urges state to set up Magdalene probe | Irish Examiner
May 2011. June2018--these things do take a long time--congrats to these women who persevered in uncovering our barbaric treatment of them.
 

loner

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Press Release, 24 May 2011—For Immediate Rele



UN Committee reiterates call for independent investigation and redress for Magdalene Laundry abuses



The UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) today repeated its requests for an independent investigation into the Magdalene Laundries abuse and redress for the women who suffered.



During the same UNCAT session today, the Irish government was responding to a series of questions asked yesterday as part of the examination by the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) in Geneva, Switzerland. Mr. Seán Aylward, Secretary General, Department of Justice and Equality, and Head of the Irish Delegation, began by responding to questions about the government’s failure to investigate and provide redress for abuses in Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries.



Mr. Aylward repeated his assertion to the Committee yesterday that these abuses happened a considerable time ago in private institutions. He argued that the Department had received no complaints of criminal offences from laundry survivors. He said that the majority of women entered the laundries voluntarily, and if they were minors, with the consent of parents or guardians. He added that only one institution in Dublin was used as a remand centre, and in those cases, the period of detention lasted only a matter of days in most cases. He also claimed that this institution was subject to inspection and that there is no evidence of mistreatment in these cases. Mr. Aylward concluded his comments on this issue by informing the Committee that the government is considering how to deal with the issue, and that he cannot anticipate how it will decide to respond.



In her response to Mr. Aylward’s statement, Madame Myrna Kleopas, the Committee’s Deputy Rapporteur, reiterated that it is the responsibility of the State to investigate abuses in the Magdalene Laundries under Articles 12 and 13 of the Convention and to find ways to ensure redress for survivors under Article 14. She said:



“Let me again repeat my position, and I think the position of this committee, about the intention of the state party to investigate allegations of ill treatment by [sic]women who were incarcerated in the laundries – that again – it’s within context of Articles 12 and 13. You said yourself that even your definition of torture contains the element of omission and this is again one of those cases where the state party might have failed to exercise due diligence to protect these people.

And in view of the evidence that we have … I think it is the responsibility of the state party to investigate and also to find ways to ensure that these women do obtain redress within the context of Article14.”



Acting chairperson of the Committee, Felice Gaer, refuted Mr. Aylward’s assertion that these abuses happened a long time ago and therefore couldn’t be put right. She emphasised that the Committee had addressed similar issues in Japan, Algeria, Cyprus and Canada, and that the Committee is concerned with the prevention of such abuse in the future, in accordance with Article 10 of the Convention (on education about the prohibition of torture).

Ms. Gaer highlighted the state’s obligations under Article 12 to investigate allegations of torture or ill treatment and Article 13 to ensure the right of victims to complain. She underscored that Article 14 of the Convention obliges the state to ensure that a victim of torture or ill treatment obtains redress, and, responding to Mr. Aylward’s argument that no women had come forward to the police, she said that Article 14 “doesn’t say ‘seeks’ redress, it says ‘obtains.’” She also stated that the Committee was concerned about the people who suffered in the Magdalene laundries, highlighting the fact that “they are alive.”

Responding to Mr. Aylward’s assertion that the majority of women entered the Laundries “voluntarily,” Ms. Gaer asked “what is voluntary?” She then spoke at length:

“I think voluntary means that one makes a choice, that one is informed, that one is then free to leave. I think it means that there is nothing coercive…

Do you have anything to suggest that the vast majority of women who went were aware of the conditions … if they were aware of the procedure, if they made a choice, if they were given information … or in the few cases of where individuals were sent there from courts, did they receive relevant information in that instance?

Otherwise we have a situation where it seems like there was not only a … question about consent, but also a situation where there may have been restraint on people’s freedom of movement. We had testimony about locked doors and people being captured by police and returned. So there were physical barriers, and there seems to have been an intent to confine people, and it seems that people who were confined feel that they were harmed by it.

So my question is also what measures were taken to exercise due diligence, which you so clearly recognise in your laws on domestic violence, your female genital mutilation bill which says there cannot be a claim of consent, or elsewhere.”

Ms. Gaer asked: “Can you identify any examples of efforts by state authorities to inspect or regulate these facilities? Were they exempt from standards…? And can you tell us what means were taken to ensure that there were no acts or omissions that amount to torture…?

She added: “An act of torture may also arise from an act of omission and not just a positive act. So this appears to include failure to inspect or regulate the place where acts of torture occurred. My question is: Wouldn’t this apply to the Magdalene laundries and do you see that as something that might be addressed in the coming weeks?”



Committee member, Dr. Nora Sveaass, also responded to Mr. Aylward stating that she was looking forward to the decisions to be taken by the new government in the coming weeks. She too reminded the Irish delegation that the Committee had several times in the past “asked for investigations into historical facts” in other countries and supported the “whole idea of state apologies” for such events. Finally, Ms. Sveaass underscored the importance of “opening records to see what has happened,” and concluded by repeating that redress or reparation “shouldn’t be dependent on 3 or 4 or 5 of these women coming forward and complaining.”

Committee member, Xuexian Wang, from China also welcomed the statement that the new government will be making a decision on the issue in a matter of weeks. He added, “I hope that when you make a decision, please take into account the proposal for establishment of a statutory inquiry into this matter.”

Maeve O’Rourke, who presented Justice for Magdalenes’ submission to the Committee, said: “The UN Committee against Torture, along with the Irish Human Rights Commission, has taken an extremely serious view of the abuse of women and girls in the Magdalene Laundries and the state's responsibility for it. Today’s comments by the Committee members unequivocally recognise the rights of the women who are still alive to an investigation, an apology, redress and treatment with dignity. I am hopeful that the Irish government will now take this opportunity to respect the human rights of these women, which for so long have been disregarded.”



Professor James Smith (Boston College), member of JFM’s advisory committee, said: “JFM today calls on the Irish state, to offer a formal state apology to all survivors of the Magdalene laundries and that the government immediately establish a statutory inquiry into these abuses. To do otherwise is to cause additional pain and suffering to the women and thereby bring further shame on our nation. The women and their children deserve justice now.”



Note to Editors: JFM plans to upload YouTube segments of the above statements to its Website (Welcome to the Justice for Magdalenes) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_210438695709) pages later today
The "distant past" has a way of catching up with us--the great gathering of Magdelene survivors thankfully looking so well despite their travails is thankfully the current present.
 
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Lagertha

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What was done to these women was horrendous, but why aren't they suing the institutions responsible and the Catholic church? Nothing can compensate these ladies for what was done to them, that isn't to say that they shouldn't be compensated. I do find it worrying that so many different groups are looking for compensation for various things at this point and that money has to come from somewhere. If it comes from State funds then it comes out of the budget for other departments and we already have underfunded hospitals, schools and Social Housing, along with a massive shortage of retirement homes.
 

Catalpast

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What was done to these women was horrendous, but why aren't they suing the institutions responsible and the Catholic church? Nothing can compensate these ladies for what was done to them, that isn't to say that they shouldn't be compensated. I do find it worrying that so many different groups are looking for compensation for various things at this point and that money has to come from somewhere. If it comes from State funds then it comes out of the budget for other departments and we already have underfunded hospitals, schools and Social Housing, along with a massive shortage of retirement homes.
If they sued the Nuns in Court they would be open to public cross examination


- and many of the stories would quickly fall apart....
 

Lagertha

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If they sued the Nuns in Court they would be open to public cross examination


- and many of the stories would quickly fall apart....
I believe that most of the women are sincere in their claims. I don't object to them being paid compensation where it is merited, I believe that it shouldn't be the Irish taxpayer that funds that compensation though. I feel the same way about compensation claims for other cases too, not specifically the ladies who were victims of the laundries. I heard suggestions that there should be a national remembrance day for the laundry survivors and I would support that.
 

Watcher2

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Fvcking useless cvnt Enda Kenny, Man of Europe or whatever the fvck empty accolade he recently received. Whatever happened after he squeezed out those crocodile tears in the Dail apologising on behalf of the people of Ireland (as if we was speaking for me the fvcking pr1ck). W@nker should be shot with a ball of his own sh1te. Why have these women not been looked after yet? Has Kenny answered that question yet?
 

Lagertha

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Fvcking useless cvnt Enda Kenny, Man of Europe or whatever the fvck empty accolade he recently received. Whatever happened after he squeezed out those crocodile tears in the Dail apologising on behalf of the people of Ireland (as if we was speaking for me the fvcking pr1ck). W@nker should be shot with a ball of his own sh1te. Why have these women not been looked after yet? Has Kenny answered that question yet?
He had bigger priorities, he was busy making knackers a protected species before he left office. The knackers will be with us forever but the ladies who survived the laundries are aging, from his perspective he probably thought that time would solve that problem for him.
 

Watcher2

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He had bigger priorities, he was busy making knackers a protected species before he left office. The knackers will be with us forever but the ladies who survived the laundries are aging, from his perspective he probably thought that time would solve that problem for him.
Just like his old pal Noonan. That was a tactic he employed too. Remember?
 


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