Nearly 700 Magdalene Laundry survivors who have so far applied for compensation payments will begin to receive funds under a government scheme in the next few weeks.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter last night said that full details of the compensation scheme were discussed at Cabinet yesterday and would be published in the coming days.
The provision of separate welfare payments for survivors will also be backdated to August as final administrative and legislative measures are worked out, it was announced.
“I am very pleased that payments of the lump sums will commence shortly and, as already stated, full details of the scheme will be published over the next few days,” the minister told the Dáil last night.
By yesterday, 545 applications for lump sums were made by women previously in Magdalene Laundries, 63 from those who were in the House of Mercy Training School, Summerhill, Wexford, and another 91 women who were in St Mary’s Training Centre in Stanhope St, Dublin.
Under the deal agreed, it is expected that 55% of survivors will be entitled to more than €50,000. The Government has made allowances for up to €58m in payments.
Mr Shatter said he expected his department would be in a position to issue the “first offers” within four to six weeks.
Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan, who has campaigned for survivors, said there was a need for an independent probe so victims could tell their stories.
Under the scheme recommended by Mr Justice John Quirke, women who were in the laundries will receive lump sum payments of between €11,500 and €100,000 for time spent in institutions.
The Government has said it assumes there will be possibly up to 1,000 applications, for compensation as part of the scheme.
A woman who spent three months or less in a laundry will receive a lump sum of €11,500. For one year it will be €20,500 and €68,500 for five years.
The maximum amount is €100,000 for women who were in a laundry for 10 years or more.
Mr Shatter also said that survivors would be encouraged to seek advice before agreeing to compensation deals.
“Applicants will be facilitated to engage their own choice of solicitor and will be provided with a maximum amount from the State of €500 plus VAT as a contribution to the cost of obtaining legal advice with regards to the signing of the waiver.”
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