I remember the day very well as my own brother Steven was, and still is, involved with the very women who started the process. As we gathered around the TV to watch the Six One news on RTÉ we were thrilled to hear and see that the women had finally been recognised for the injustice they suffered. We were all told that is about the women and this apology was to “take back” that terrible secret “they had carried with them” for years.
The Taoiseach himself even cried as he finished his speech wile remember and quoting a line from the song ‘Whispering hope’ and I was highly impressed with how he dealt with this matter.
I was surprised, therefore, to learn last week that the women have still not been paid for all their work or as they might say, for all they slaved for. This has got me thinking. Why is it that there is such a delay in the payments being made? You would imagine that this should be a simple process of signing a cheque but it appears that this is not the case.
These women have suffered so much in their lives and surely for that reason alone the Government should just get on with it and pay the women. I think it is a disgrace that the women have to wait so long and, to add insult to injury, they are holding back paying women who are entitled to more than €50,000.
Instead these women will receive a weekly supplement to top up their pensions. This surely will throw up further complications, such as potentially forcing the women into telling family members, friends or people who assist them on an everyday basis. This is the one thing the women don’t want and I’m at a complete loss as to why the Government would force the women into a situation like this. This is highly insensitive, undignified and not in line with how the Government portrayed the ‘heartfelt’ apology to the women.
Further to this, many of the women are old and of ill health and we already know that two of the women from Cork have passed away. They will never see a penny of their entitlement. And perhaps this is the greatest injustice. It should be the prerogative of the Government to assist these women in every way possible.
Taoiseach, please have the common sense to pay the women and without further delay.