Justice For Magdalenes critique of McAleese report could be ready in months

Claire McGettrick of JFM Research who are compiling a critique of the McAleese Report. Picture: Des Barry

An extensive critique of the McAleese Report into the Magdalene laundries could be published by the year end, according to the Justice for Magdalenes (JFM).

The campaigning group, now known as JFM Research, is currently compiling its analysis of the McAleese Report which was published last year and which has been strongly criticised on a number of fronts.

“We are going to put out all the evidence that we have and to show where he went wrong,” Claire McGettrick of JFM Research, told an audience at the Mother Jones Festival in Cork’s Firkin Crane.

Ms McGettrick said there had been a number of shortcomings in the McAleese Report, including that it did not examine all records and that it had inadequately investigated deaths.

She also said that despite the Justice for Magdalenes group submitting 796 pages of its own material, not one page of this made it into the final report.

“I can tell you the lack of overt and clear terms of reference was a problem,” she said.

“It was not designed to be a truth-finding project. It got it very wrong and it shows the perils of operating behind closed doors.”

JFM Research has already claimed that half of the women at one Magdalene laundry in the 1950s and 1960s never left the institution again but died years later behind the convent walls.

Claire McGettrick also said the government had not delivered on a number of recommendations made by Mr Justice John Quirke in relation to survivors of the laundries, including the provision of medical cards and enhanced pensions.

She said a dedicated unit needed to be formed to help survivors access their entitlements.

Referring to the Tuam Babies revelations, she said: “Tuam happened all by itself and we had nothing to do with Tuam. It is great that people are starting to look into their own areas.”

She said the upcoming Commission of Investigation was an “ideal opportunity” for the Government to conduct an independent investigation into the Laundries.

Cork City Cllr Ted Tynan said he would proceed with a motion to have a memorial garden to the women of the Laundries placed in an area known as “the gym” in Sunday’s Well in Cork.

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