Magdalene survivors ‘confident’ on redress

Former residents of Magdalene laundries said that a process of compensation amounting to more than €100m should be set up within a month and wound up by August, so as not to allow the issue drag on any longer.

A package to deal with their concerns is expected to be agreed at tomorrow’s cabinet meeting, which will also sign off on the appointment of an individual who will examine the needs of the 800 or so surviving women who formerly worked and lived in the institutions.

Minister of State Kathleen Lynch said: “A person who will have the competence and the compassion and the expertise in the area will be asked to deal with the issue.

“That person will then be asked to put forward a framework where women can interact with that person and their team and we will then look at what needs to be put in place.”

But Magdalene Survivors Together said there must be no further delays. “No one wants a situation where it goes on for years and women are dragged in to give their testimony,” said spokesperson Steven O’Riordan.

He said the group is “extremely confident” Taoiseach Enda Kenny will follow through on his commitment to address the concerns of the women, and agree to its proposal for a €50,000 ex-gratia payment for all survivors, and a separate sum for unpaid wages for the work they carried out at the laundries depending on their length of stay.

The submission seeks a sum of €5,000 for three months rising to €20,000 for 12 months. The average length of stay was seven months, putting the average sum to be paid out at €65,000, including the €50,000 ex-gratia payment.

A state apology to the victims is expected to be delivered by Mr Kenny tomorrow evening when the Dáil discusses the findings of the report on the laundries by Martin McAleese.

Many of the victims will be in the Dáil to hear the apology.

Survivor Maureen O’Sullivan said: “Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen but it looks like it will. It just goes to show that you must never give up.”

Josephine Meade said: “I’ve waited for this day all my life. The laundries destroyed me and my family. The hurt and pain that has been caused over the years will never leave, but a state apology will go some way to helping me.”

But women who were part of two other institutions not considered Magdalene laundries — St Mary’s Training Centres in Stanhope St, Dublin, and Summerhill, Wexford, believe they should be part of the apology.

Diane Creighton, who spent time at the Wexford institution, said: “I spent four years there, it was the worst four years of my life and I want him to acknowledge I’m telling the truth,” she said.

“It was not a training school, it was a Magdalene laundry.”

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