More than a year after Taoiseach Enda Kenny offered a State apology to women incarcerated in Magdalene laundries, Justice Minister Alan Shatter wrote to the Orders a number of weeks ago for the fourth time about contributing to the redress scheme and confirmed that two of the Orders had responded stating they would not contribute any money towards compensating the women.
The redress scheme is expected to cost between €34m and €58m.
“I wrote to the religious congregations again on this matter several weeks ago following a statement made by the Holy See to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in relation to the Magdalen laundries,” said Mr Shatter.
“I have received responses from two of the congregations advising that their position is unchanged and I am awaiting a response from the other two congregations.”
The Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge, the Good Shepherd Sisters, and the Sisters of Charity have all stated their refusal to contribute financially to the redress scheme on previous occasions.
In 2012, the Irish Examiner reported that the four orders which ran the Magdalene laundries made almost €300m in property deals during the economic boom.
Mr Shatter also said that he had written to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and asked it to forward any evidence it may have in respect of criminal activity committed in the Magdalen laundries “for the purpose of criminal investigation and possible prosecution.”
However, a spokesperson for Justice For Magdalenes Research expressed surprise that Mr Shatter felt the need to ask the UN for evidence of criminal acts when the group had provided such evidence to the McAleese Committee,” said the spokesperson.
“The State has already received considerable evidence of criminal acts and human rights abuses in the Magdalene laundries. JFMR brought relevant archival evidence and survivor testimony, which we offered to have sworn to the attention of the McAleese Committee. However, the committee chose to ignore these materials and omit them from its report.”
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has called on the Vatican to investigate the Magdalene laundries so those responsible for the abuse suffered in the institutions can be prosecuted.
Last May, the UN Committee Against Torture, which forced the Government to investigate the Magdalene laundries, criticised the report by Martin McAleese as “incomplete” and lacking “many elements of a prompt, independent, and thorough investigation”.