Magdalene survivors can still apply for redress and special medical cards

Magdalene laundry survivors have been told they can still apply for redress and avail of special medical cards.

The HSE will start to issue ‘RWRCI Cards’ to women in June and eligibility for the health services will take effect on July 1.

In the meantime, the HSE will be directly contacting the women who have accepted a formal offer made under the Restorative Justice Scheme.

A woman who has accepted a formal offer made to her under the scheme will receive a Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions (RWRCI) card from the HSE, which identifies the holder as qualifying for a range of health services provided for in the Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Act 2015.

The HSE will make available, without charge, the following primary and community health services:

  • GP services;
  • prescribed drugs, medicines, aids and appliances;
  • dental, ophthalmic and aural services;
  • home nursing;
  • home support;
  • chiropody/podiatry;
  • physiotherapy;
  • counselling services;

The HSE will also provide further information about the health benefits directly to the qualifying women.

Speaking to RTÉ radio, Kathleen Lynch, the minister of state for primary and social care said there is still time for women to apply for redress so they can avail of the medical cards.

Some 512 women have already accepted an offer of redress.

Claire McGettrick of Justice For Magdalenes Research said the group were “appalled” that the Government announced further delays to the implementation of the Quirke redress scheme on the same day so many Irish people turned out to vote for equality.

Ms McGettrick pointed out that, to date, no guide to health services has been produced for Magdalene women, while “the health needs of Magdalene women who have emigrated now seem to have dropped off the agenda”.

Meanwhile, the Coalition of Mother And Baby Home Survivors (CMABS) held a remembrance service outside the Dáil to mark the first anniversary of the Tuam infant deaths story breaking.

The group has called on the Government to implement its ‘Just Three Principles’ — an immediate apology and redress; full inclusion of all mothers and children forcibly separated and all related institutions; and the passing of Senator Averil Power’s Adoption Bill within six months.

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