For more than 200 years, from the 18th century to the late 20th century, so-called ‘fallen’ women and their children endured the horrors of the Magdalene laundries.
The State’s redress scheme was supposed to offer a compassionate response as well as some form of compensation for the suffering of modern day survivors of those hideous institutions.
But, as a scathing report by Ombudsman Peter Tyndall reveals, the Department of Justice operated as a force for injustice in how it administered the scheme designed to compensate women who were admitted to, or worked in, institutions and Magdalene laundries.
The report resulted from an investigation after 27 women complained that they had been denied redress by the Department as they were not officially recorded as having been resident in the 12 institutions covered by the scheme.
The report identifies a mean-spirited approach by the department as well as giving undue weight to evidence supplied by the religious congregations involved.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said his department would give “full and careful consideration” to all the recommendations made by the Ombudsman.
They include a reassessment of the women’s applications with a view to granting them redress.
We should not hold our collective breath, though, as the department has already objected to the findings of the report.
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