UN calls on Government to explain lack of progress on Magdalene Laundries & mother-and-baby homes

The UN has today called on the government to explain what further investigations it intends to carry out into the Magdalene Laundries, industrial schools and mother-and-baby homes.

A delegation has appeared before the UN Committee Against Torture to face questions on the progress it has made since 2011.

Minister of State David Stanton led a 20-strong Irish delegation to the UN Committee Against torture this morning.

The committee had several questions on human rights issues, including why there has been a lack of progress on investigations in the wake of the Ryan Report on abuse in industrial schools.

“Only 15 cases were brought forward, even for the criminal investigation, and the only one resulted in prosecution,” said Committee vice chair Felice Gaer.

“This is hugely problematic, since more than 15,000 victims have come forward.”

Ms Gaer also focused on mother and baby homes and was critical of the state's stance that it has no basis for believing that serious harm was perpetrated in the Magdalene Laundries.

“How can the Government say to us that it believes that the McAleese Report established that there was not systematic ill-treatment, when the terms of reference did not extend to investigating allegations of abuse, or establishing the whereabouts and identities of those who died?,” she asked.

Committee member Ana Racu focused on the prison system, particularly the lack of mental health services.

“The service employs one psychologist for every 220 prisoners,” she said.

“The report also notes that the psychology services in the Irish Prison Service was disjointed from other services available to prisoners.”

The Irish delegation will deal with the questions in a session tomorrow afternoon.

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