Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Equality Fiona O’Loughlin says she is disappointed that the Government failed to inform the public regarding an on-going investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman into how the Department of Justice is handling the re-dress scheme for former residents of the Magdalene Laundries.

Deputy O’Loughlin said, “It was revealed in the High Court earlier this week that the Office of the Ombudsman is currently investigating the Department of Justice over its handling of the redress scheme setup under the ‘Redress for Women Who Were Resident in Certain Institutions Act’. This redress scheme was put in place to compensate women who were mistreated over many years while resident in Magdalene Laundries.

“It’s deeply disappointing that the Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald didn’t reveal that this investigation was ongoing. It’s possible that it would never have come to light if the High Court, which is currently hearing a case brought forward by two women who worked in the laundries, had not revealed the ongoing investigation. The Minister needs to explain why she didn’t inform the public about this investigation considering its possible implications for people who are seeking redress.

“It’s clear that the Department is not behaving in a transparent manner in relation to this investigation. The Taoiseach apologised to these women on behalf of the State four years ago, but now it turns out that the Government is still trying to prevent important information from being made public. It’s a deeply disappointing development.

“It’s critical that the Tánaiste and her Department is fully committed to ensuring that justice is achieved for the women who were forced into the Magdalene Laundries.  The Minister needs to be upfront with the public regarding any ongoing investigations in order to achieve this”.