Magdalenes’ health needs abroad may be covered

Magdalene survivors living abroad are being told the minister for health is to consider looking after their health needs abroad as part of the planned redress scheme.

Last week, Minister Alan Shatter had said “in line with the recommendation of Judge Quirke these services will provided in the State” suggesting they would only be available to women living here and not those residing in Britain, US, Australia, Germany and Cyprus where some of the survivors now live.

This statement caused uproar with Justice for Magdalenes Research saying such a scheme would be “discriminatory” and was “beyond belief in this the Year of the Gathering”.

But in a response to a Dáil question from Sinn Féin deputy Mary McDonald, Minister Shatter yesterday appeared to stand back from last week’s comments.

“Legislation is required in order to implement Judge Quirke’s recommendation with regard to the provision of medical services to the women. The issue of providing medical services to women, eligible under the scheme, who reside outside the State will be considered by the minister for health,” he said.

Speaking in the Dáil, Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said “making the necessary arrangement with other jurisdictions should not be a hurdle for government”.

“Inter-country arrangements for the provision of health services already exist within the EU and similar arrangements can be sought for the handful of women who now live in the US, Australia and Switzerland. Bilateral arrangements are already in place between Ireland and these countries on far more complex issues than providing health services for a dozen elderly women.”


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