News & Events

Parliamentary Questions – 23rd November 2017

Below are questions asked in the Oireachtas, relating to Caranua and other areas relevant to survivors

Questions on Promised Legislation

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: The programme for Government makes numerous commitments to older people, empowering women, protecting children and young people and equality and inclusiveness. It appears that when it comes to the survivors of the Magdalen laundries all of these worthy commitments go out the window. Following a comprehensive investigation into the administration of the Magdalen restorative justice scheme, the Ombudsman has today published a damning report into the scheme’s failures.

What the investigation has exposed beggars belief. The Department of Justice and Equality administered the scheme in a manner which deliberately sought to exclude women from the redress to which they were entitled. Women who were effectively imprisoned on a single site, working side-by-side with those deemed eligible for redress, were refused their entitlements on the basis of the Department’s incorrect administrative interpretation of the eligibility criteria relating to the 12 institutions covered by the State. Given that the State has failed the women twice, will the Government do the right thing and act on the recommendations of the Ombudsman?

The Tánaiste: The then Taoiseach, Deputy Enda Kenny, made a commitment in 2013 to the Magdalen women to introduce a scheme for those who were admitted to and worked in Magdalen institutions. The scheme applied to 12 named institutions. To date, €25.7 million has been paid to 684 women under the scheme, which is still open. I understand that the Department of Justice and Equality co-operated fully with the Ombudsman in the course of the investigation. There are a number of recommendations in respect of women who were outside of the 12 named institutions.


The report has just been received. The Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Charles Flanagan, has stated that full and careful consideration will be given to all of the recommendations. The Ombudsman has welcomed his response. It is an issue which will be considered by the relevant Department, namely, the Department of Justice and Equality. I have no doubt that, in line with previous reports from the Ombudsman, as many of the recommendations as possible will be taken on board.