Just seven women get new Magdalene redress payment

Just seven of the 97 women who applied to the widened Magdalene redress scheme have received a payment.

The scheme was widened in June of last year, following a scathing report by ombudsman Peter Tyndall, which found the Department of Justice had wrongly refused some Magdalene laundry survivors access to redress payments and that the scheme had been maladministered by the Department.

In response to a parliamentary question from Independent TD Catherine Connolly, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said 97 applications for redress had been made under the widened scheme.

These comprise 52 applications refused under the original scheme and which may now be eligible, and a further 45 new applications.

Of the 97 applications, seven received redress payments. A further four awards are under consideration by the successful applicants, while one woman has withdrawn from the scheme.

One applicant, who previously received an award under the redress scheme, has been informed that she is not eligible for a further payment, under the widened scheme.

A further nine women have been told they are not eligible for the scheme, “on the basis of information supplied”.

Mr Flanagan said these applicants have been given an opportunity “to provide further information to support an application under the scheme”.

Of the remaining 75 applications, 60 are being processed and 15 have not yet completed relevant forms, and reminders have issued.

In respect of the 60 applications being processed, 51 have outstanding queries with religious institutions, other bodies, or with the applicants themselves. Overall, 11 applicants have been called for interview.

The Irish Examiner revealed last month that 14 of the 97 applications relate to women who were in the An Grianán training centre post-1980 and also worked in the High Park Magdalene laundry in Dublin, which was located in the same building.

These women have yet to receive a provisional offer for redress from the Department of Justice.

This department’s Restorative Justice Unit (RJU), which administers the redress scheme, has told the women that the reason for the delay is that the order that ran the institution — the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge — has stated that it stopped sending girls from An Grianán to work in the main laundry in 1980.

On three separate occasions, the legal team for the women has requested information on the evidence given by the order to the RJU to support this claim from the department, but has been refused it.

Human rights lawyer Colin Smith pointed out that the High Court accepted, in 2017, that children worked at High Park into the 1980s and said the delay in granting the women redress was “obscene”.

The women have learned that a potential reason for the 1980 cut-off point is a claim that a separate laundry was constructed at An Grianán that year and that no girls were sent to work in the main laundry as a result.

However, the Irish Examiner has obtained documents showing this laundry was constructed “in the early months of 1984”, at a cost of £17,001.

Nine of the 14 women have signed a letter to Mr Flanagan, calling on him to intervene directly, asking him to instruct officials in the RJU to provide them with redress.

More on this topic

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Eight redress payments made to Magdalene survivors

Department of Justice offers redress to women involved in dispute

Magdalene women seek minister’s help on redress

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