By Catherine Shanahan
Women who worked in St Finbarr’s Industrial School and Marymount Training Centre in Cork are among those who may benefit from the Government decision to extend its Magdalene laundries redress scheme to 14 additional institutions.
The extension of the Magdalen Restorative Justice Scheme beyond the 12 laundries to women resident in adjoining institutions comes as up to 200 laundry survivors arrive in Dublin for a two-day event at which they will be honoured.
The decision to expand redress comes more than six months after Ombudsman Peter Tyndall published a scathing report into the scheme, which found the Department of Justice had wrongly refused some Magdalene laundry survivors access to redress payments.
A key recommendation of Mr Tyndall’s report was that the department reconsider the applications of women who worked in one of the listed laundries but who were recorded as having been “admitted” to a training centre or industrial school in the same building, attached to or located on the grounds of the laundry.
A key piece of information in relation to the Ombudsman was uncovered in a 2015 Irish Examiner investigation, showing that evidence An Grianán training centre and High Park Magdalene laundry were “one and the same thing” was uncovered by the HSE in 2011. Despite this, it was excluded from the redress scheme.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said that, under the extended scheme, a “general” payment will be made for the entire period of residency and a “work” payment for the period of work in a laundry.
The Government introduced the Magdalene Restorative Justice Ex Gratia Scheme in 2013. Since then, 692 applicants have been paid over €26m in lump-sum payments.
The Oireachtas Justice Committee heard in March that seven laundry survivors had died without receiving a penny of redress they were granted in 2013.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.