Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has welcomed a public commitment made by the Taoiseach that outstanding redress payments to women who survived the Magdalene Laundries will now be progressed, and that promised full medical cards are now to be provided.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“This week the Minister for Justice finally brought overdue legal advice to Cabinet enabling his Department to finally progress redress payments to the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries.

“A year has passed since the Ombudsman published his report following an investigation by the Office into the administration of the Magdalene Laundries redress scheme.

“The Ombudsman’s investigation found a serious inconsistency in the Department’s application of the redress schemes eligibility criteria.

“Women who were recorded as admitted to a different institution closely associated with another named laundry were wrongly refused admission to the Scheme.

“Even after this investigation was complete and the recommendations prepared, the first instinct of the Department was to delay and hinder progress.

“Whilst I welcomed the Government’s belated decision in April to accept in full the recommendations made by the Ombudsman, it is unacceptable that it took a further six months for the Department to finally right this error.

“Like many others I am extremely concerned at the Department of Justice’s recent change to the redress scheme application process that now requires elderly women to include the hours they were forced to work in their respective laundries decades ago. This is another barrier and difficulty being put in the path of the women. It should be withdrawn as there is a commitment from the Taoiseach that the hours in the laundries will not impact on payments.

“There is also confirmation that a full medical card will be provided to the women once the necessary legislation has been passed and this is also to be welcomed.”