Compensation for some Magdalene Laundries victims to be paid before Christmas

Compensation for some Magdalene Laundries victims to be paid before Christmas

Some survivors of the Magdalene laundries will be paid tax free compensation before Christmas, it has been revealed.

Lump sums will be paid over the next four to six weeks to some of the 205 women who have agreed to a payment ranging from €11,500 to €100,000.

The maximum one-off payment will be €50,000 with any remaining money to be paid in weekly instalments over a year.

But the Magdalene Survivors Together group, which includes about 100 women, claimed their concerns over the low level of some lump sums and weekly instalments are not being taken on board.

“The women aren’t being listened to, the Government have let them down,” a spokesman for the group said.

The group said it wanted a guarantee of at least €50,000 for each woman ever sent to a laundry.

It represents 100 women in Ireland and is aware of another 67 survivors in the UK but based on the Government figures there are approximately another 400 women to be compensated and not being represented.

The average time women from Magdalene Survivors Together spent in a laundry was five to eight years.

The money will be paid to those forced into the Catholic-run workhouses, St Mary’s Training Centre, Stanhope Street in Dublin and the House of Mercy Training School, Summerhill, Wexford.

Four congregations ran them – Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, Mercy Sisters, Sisters of Charity and Good Shepherd Sisters.

Some 605 applications for the redress fund have been made and more than 250 applications are at an advance stage with the first payments to be made over the next four to six weeks.

Mr Shatter said one of his priorities after becoming minister had been to address the hurt of the Magdalene women.

“To avoid any unnecessary delay my department has already been active in encouraging women to submit applications and around 600 have been received to date,” he said.

“If an individual accepts the provisional offer, the next step will be a formal offer subject to the signature of the waiver. Once the waiver is signed and returned, the payment of the lump sums can be made.”

Magdalene Survivors Together said they have approached the United Nations watchdog on torture over the compensation and criticised religious orders for not doubling the offerings put forward by the State.

The redress scheme was drawn up by Judge John Quirke.

It includes the one off tax free lump sums depending on how long a woman was in the laundry – three months or less works out at €11,500; one year is €20,500; five years is €68,500; and a cap of €100,000 for 10 years in a laundry.

A one off payment, up to a maximum of €50,000 will be made, with an annual payment in weekly instalments calculated from the remaining sum.

The compensation will include top ups to ensure every woman under 66 has an income from the state of €100 euro a week, and €230 for those over that age.

If a woman has died since making an application €50,000 will be paid to her estate.

The weekly top-up payments will be calculated on an individual basis, backdated to August and only take into account state benefits to ensure women have an income of €100-€230. It will only means test the primary state benefit, such as pension, to calculate the excess.

Eligible women will also be entitled to free healthcare similar to that of a medical card holder.

The Department of Justice said that compensation will not take into account any money paid to women under the Residential Institutions Redress scheme for time they may spent in industrial schools before the laundries.

It also encouraged women to take legal advice before signing up to the deal.

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