Dublin Honours Magdalenes

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Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) today (Friday March 9th) warmly welcomed Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan’s communication that he will facilitate their plans to honour survivors of the Magdalene Laundries at a two-day event in Dublin this June.

Because the department is the only organisation with details of those who spent time in the laundries, JFMR had appealed to the Minister on Tuesday, asking that he would invite the survivors on their behalf, and also that he would lend his support to the event.  Yesterday evening (Thursday March 8th), marking International Women’s Day, he confirmed that he would do so.

Read our press release here.

On March 6th, JFMR called on the government to honour two of the key recommendations of the Magdalene Redress Scheme by helping bring survivors together for a special ‘Dublin Honours Magdalenes’ event in June. We are delighted that well-known businesswoman and publisher Norah Casey will act as an Ambassador for the event.

The two-day gathering on June 5th and 6th, at which several hundred survivors of the Magdalene Laundries will be honoured and celebrated by the City of Dublin, will fulfil two of the key recommendations of Mr Justice Quirke’s Magdalene Redress Scheme – that the women be supported to meet and get to know each other, and that they discuss how they would like their experiences to be officially remembered.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál MacDonncha, announced at a meeting of Dublin City Council on 5th March 2018 that he will host the women at the Mansion House on June 5th and 6th and that the Council’s Central Area Committee has agreed to contribute towards the cost of the two-day event.

Read our press release of 6th March here.

Background Information on the 2013 Redress Scheme

In May 2013, Mr Justice John Quirke made recommendations to government on the provision of an ex gratia ‘restorative justice’ scheme for Magdalene survivors. The Quirke report was made public and distributed to Magdalene survivors who had engaged with the process. In June 2013 the government agreed on the Dáil record to accept all of Mr Justice Quirke’s recommendations ‘in full‘.

Justice Quirke’s sixth recommendation concerned the establishment of a Dedicated Unit, which would (amongst other things) facilitate the ‘acquisition, maintenance and administration of any garden, museum or other form of memorial which the Scheme’s administrator, after consultation with the advisory body or committee referred to below has decided to construct or establish’. Judge Quirke highlighted that any such memorial or archival centre or project should be overseen by an advisory board or committee that ‘should include at least 6 Magdalene women…[including] at least 2 representatives of eligible women currently living within the U.K. or elsewhere’.

The following aspects of the ‘Dedicated Unit’ recommended by Mr Justice Quirke have not been implemented to date:

  1. Practical and, if necessary professional, assistance to enable those women who wish to do so to meet with those members of the Religious Orders who have similar wishes to meet and interact;
  2. Similar practical assistance to meet and interact with other Magdalen women;
  3. The acquisition, maintenance and administration of any garden, museum or other form of memorial which the Scheme’s administrator, after consultation with an advisory body or committee, has decided to construct or establish;
  4. Investigative and other help and assistance in obtaining such sheltered or other housing as they may be entitled to; and
  5. Investigative and other help and assistance in obtaining such educational assistance as they may be entitled to.

Further information on the Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme, including a timeline of events, is available here.

Further information on the Magdalene Laundries is available here.