Fianna Fáil Seanad Group Leader, Senator Catherine Ardagh has said that she believes the Department of Justice must fully act upon the recommendations outlined as part of Ombudsman Peter Tyndall’s investigation into the Department of Justices’ handling of the Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme.
The investigation which recommends that the women who were denied redress as part of the scheme should have their applications reassessed with a view to approving them, took close to 12 months to complete. The findings were published last week as part of the investigative report entitled; Opportunity Lost.
The Senator, who is based in Crumlin, Dublin 12 was speaking in Seanad Éireann earlier today and said, “This redress scheme was put in place to compensate Irish women who were cruelly mistreated while resident in Magdalene Laundries.
“It is my view and the view of many others that Ombudsman Peter Tyndall’s report vindicates precisely what both survivors and campaigners have been saying regarding the failure and inadequacies of the current redress scheme.
“Serious administrative irregularities within the Department of Justice including narrow terms of reference and inconsistent criteria led many applicants being denied access to the redress scheme despite their eligibility.
“Quite alarmingly there was blanket refusal to include those who were once resident in any of the institutions listed under the Residential Institutions Redress Board in the scheme. This was appropriately found to be manifestly unfair.
“The report also reveals that the Department relied heavily on the word of mouth from those in the various religious orders and also noted serious delays in making payments to the women who were included in the scheme.
“It seems in Ireland that when we impose wrongdoing on any portion of society we double down and cause more hurt instead of facing our failures and remedying them.
The Senator concluded, “An immediate review of the scheme must be carried out and in particular those left out under the blanket ban should be included.
“I am calling on the Minister, Charlie Flanagan to attend the Seanad when we reconvene in the New Year to address these and other findings of this report.”