Magdalene group says it possesses ‘extensive evidence’

Magdalene group says it possesses ‘extensive evidence’

he Justice for Magdalenes group is gearing up to sue the State over the hundreds of women who died and were buried in mass — and often unmarked — graves all over the country.

The long-running scandal of women who were frequently imprisoned and forced to work because they were unmarried mothers was raised by the UN committee on economic and social rights in Geneva.

Two committee members did not appear to accept the Government’s claim that they had properly investigated the Magdalene laundries issue and that the women were not detained against their will.

The State quoted the London-based Irish Women Survivors Support Network as saying: “We hope that time is not wasted calling for more statutory inquiries or demanding yet more bureaucratic statutory processes.

“In their advanced years, the women have repeatedly told us they have no wish for conflict or confrontation.”

The Government insisted there was no evidence to support allegations of criminal torture in the institutions and said that doctors who attended the women did not recall any evidence of ill-treatment.

However, Justice for Magdalenes said they have extensive evidence on what happened in the laundries run by religious orders, and on the unaccounted-for women buried in unmarked graves including in Dublin and Cork.

They are still looking for the graves of women buried in Dún Laoghaire, and they do not know exactly how many women were buried in large mass graves in Galway.

But the survivors continue to be abused by the State, Justice for Magdalenes told the UN committee in a private briefing before the two- day hearing yesterday, because the State is refusing to provide the healthcare it promised to the women two years ago.

To receive the compensation, the women had to waive all their legal rights against the State, but now find that having done so, they are left with no way of getting the healthcare and other elements of the scheme they were promised, said Dr Katherine O’Donnell of Justice for Magdalenes.

UN committee member and former Justice of the Columbian Constitutional Court, Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes, told the Government representatives that he wanted to address the “right to a remedy regarding women that were subjected to forced labour in the Magdalene laundries”, while women’s human rights expert Heisoo Shin said that the “exploitation of Magdalene women needs to be addressed”.


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