Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Kenny Magdalenes apology expected

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to make a full state apology to survivors of the Magdalene laundries on Tuesday

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to make a full state apology to survivors of the Magdalene laundries on Tuesday.

Twenty women who were incarcerated in the Catholic workhouses will attend a parliamentary debate to witness first hand the anticipated apology.

The group - Magdalene Survivors Together - is also hoping to hear details of a compensation scheme.

Spokesman Steven O'Riordan said the survivors were also optimistic Mr Kenny would acknowledge women detained in other institutions similar to the laundries that were classed as training units.

"Magdalene Survivors Together are extremely confident that the Taoiseach will in some way extend the apology to include St Mary's Training School, Stanhope Street, Dublin, and St Mary's Training Centre, Summerhill, Wexford," Mr O'Riordan said.

Meanwhile, the survivor group has called for compensation in the form of a nominal payment of 50,000 euro for their incarceration and an additional 20,000 euro for every year spent in detention to make up for lost wages.

The Government has not confirmed to the women or their representatives whether they will be compensated.

But Justice Minister Alan Shatter has insisted a comprehensive package of measures was being produced to meet the women's needs.

This follows the recent publication of a report from former senator Martin McAleese, which revealed that the state was responsible for 24% of all admissions to the laundries - where girls as young as 11 were forced to work unpaid.

The Magdalene inquiry also found that 10,000 women were incarcerated in the workhouses, run by religious orders, for a myriad of reasons - from petty crime, fleeing the institutes, foster families no longer receiving state allowances and others who were orphaned, abused, mentally or physically disabled, homeless or poor.

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