Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Questions (231, 232, 233, 235)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

231. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the Magdalen laundry redress mechanism will be placed on a statutory footing. [10700/13]

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Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

232. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the Magdalen laundry redress mechanism will include an independent appeals mechanism. [10701/13]

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Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

233. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if surviving women wishing to avail of legal representation, for example, women who wish to remain anonymous, that this will be allowed within the Magdalen laundry redress mechanism. [10702/13]

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Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

235. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if it his intention to withhold access to redress from surviving women of the Magdalen laundries who have previously received supports from the Residential Institutions Redress Board for abuses suffered whilst in an industrial school. [10704/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 231 to 233, inclusive, and 235 together.

The Government is putting a comprehensive scheme of supports in place to underpin a process of healing and reconciliation for the women who were admitted to and worked in a Magdalen Laundry, and including the laundry operated at Stanhope Street Training Centre.

This scheme, the detail of which is being examined by retired High Court Judge and current President of the Law Reform Commission, Mr Justice Quirke, will be established soon. Judge Quirke has been asked to examine how, taking into account the McAleese Report, the Government might best provide supports (including health services such as medical cards, psychological and counselling services and other welfare needs) for the women who need such supports as a result of their experiences.

Judge Quirke has also been asked to advise on identifying the criteria and factors to be taken into account (such as work undertaken in the Laundries for no remuneration). He will advise on the operation of the Fund and, in particular, the nature and amount of payments to be made out of the Fund. A decision will be made on its detailed operation when he reports back in 3 months time.

Women who have already received payments under the Redress Scheme are not being excluded. There is one small area of possible overlap. Under the Redress Scheme, women who went straight from an industrial school to a Magdalen laundry may have received a redress payment for the period in the Magdalen laundry up to the age of 18. Judge Quirke has been asked to keep this in mind.