Academic raised doubts over McAleese report into Magdalene Laundries

A US academic wrote to the UN in 2013 claiming material relating to the Magdalene Laundries called parts of the McAleese report “into question on a number of rather serious fronts”.

James Smith of Boston College wrote to the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) in November 2013 to inform it of material he discovered in the Galway Diocesan Archives in the spring of 2012 which related to the Sisters of Mercy Magdalene Laundry in Galway.

Prof Smith, who is also a member of the Justice For Magdalenes research body, had brought the relevant files to the attention of the McAleese Committee at the time and they were examined by the Committee.

However, documents obtained by the Irish Examiner show that, following the publication of the McAleese report in February 2013 and UNCAT’s subsequent one-year follow-up examination of the issue, Prof Smith wrote to the body’s vice chair, Felice Gaer, claiming that the McAleese report “fails to adequately reflect, and indeed mischaracterises, the material in the Galway Diocesan Archive”.

In particular, Prof Smith pointed to detailed financial records that he claimed “contradict” the McAleese report’s conclusions on the profitability of such institutions.

READ MORE: Four years on, questions continue to be asked of report into Magdalene Laundries


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