Dozens of Magdalene laundry survivors blocked from receiving crucial compensation because they were officially placed in “adjoining” facilities will be given significant pay-outs before Christmas.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan will seek sign-off on the deal at this morning’s Cabinet meeting after Government legal advice that the funds must be fast-tracked due to the elderly nature of many of the women affected.
In a meeting which will also see Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty put forward budget-flagged plans to increase parental leave by seven weeks and Transport Minister Shane Ross reveal new laws forcing rickshaw drivers to be Garda vetted and licensed amid ongoing criminal action claims, Mr Flanagan will say the State must help all Magdalene survivors.
Noting that the Quirke report failed to include at least 52 women whose applications for compensation were turned down because they were placed in “adjoining facilities”, the Justice Minister will say the issue
must now be addressed. It is believed his plan will focus on the need to provide the women currently excluded from any compensation schemes with lump sum payments, “pension-type” supports, and other paid-for health benefits.
The exact costs will be based on the length of time someone was forced to work in a Magdalene laundry and are understood to stretch into the hundreds of thousands of euro, with compensation likely by Christmas due in part to the elderly age of many of those affected.
This morning’s Cabinet meeting is also due to see Ms Doherty put forward plans to increase parental leave by seven weeks, by 2022.
The move, which will initially see parental leave increased by two weeks by November 2019, will be in addition to already existing paid parental leave rules.
At the same meeting, Mr Ross will reveal a new legal clampdown on rickshaw drivers forcing them to be Garda vetted and licensed before taking to the streets.
The move is partially related to Garda figures showing that 158 rickshaw drivers have been arrested under the Misuse of Drugs Act in Dublin city in the past 18 months.
The meeting will also involve Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney presenting a new report on Irish-US political relations.
Mr Coveney is expected to say the report has found there have been 169 ministerial or taoisigh visits to the US since the start of the decade, but that more US political visits to Ireland should be encouraged, in part because Ireland is a “bridge” between the US and the EU.