A light at the end of the tunnel for Madgalene Laundries survivors?
The Irish Times reports that the government will consider new evidence detailing State involvement in the referral of women to Magdalene laundries in the 1960s before it decides whether to provide redress to former inmates.
The decision yesterday by Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe follows an admission by Department of Justice officials this week that women were transferred following court appearances to a church-run asylum on Sean McDermott Street, Dublin, during the 1960s.
According to a Spokesman for the Minister, “the information now being referred to by the group wasn’t available when the Minister for Education and Science issued his letter on September 4th, 2009,”
Significantly, a Department of Justice spokesman confirmed yesterday they now knew and accepted that a number of women charged with criminal offences were remanded in one Magdalene laundry under arrangements made by the Department of Justice. The spokesman also asserted that a number of women convicted of criminal offences were also given the alternative of going to prison or a Magdalene laundry by the courts.
Bearing in mind the acknowledgement by the Deparment of Justice that the state did in fact play a role in relation to the referral of women to Magdalene laundries, it seems incumbent on the Minister to revisit his conclusion that former residents are not eligible for compensation from the Residential Institutions Redress Board due to the fact that the state was ‘not complicit’ in referring women to the laundries.