Magdalene Laundry Restorative Justice Scheme
Financial Awards available for those who were resident in laundries
What is the background to this scheme?
Between 2001 and 2014, a sustained campaign for justice for Magdalene Laundry women took place both in the UK and Ireland. The history of this campaign and the role played by the women themselves in keeping alive their just cause, is well known. The intervention by the Irish coalition government following representation from a number of groups (including IWSSN) had a significant impact, leading to a number of important legislative and policy initiatives that for the first time recognised that the State had a duty to acknowledge its role (and historically the lack of it) in relation to the Magdalene Laundry women. These initiatives included the McAleese Inquiry, carried out by Dr Martin McAleese and subsequently the report from Judge John Quirke who was tasked with creating recommendations for a Restorative Justice Scheme that would be non-adversarial.
After meeting with a group of inspirational Magdalene Laundry women, the Taoiseach was moved by their stories and understood the sense of injustice these Survivors felt about their ordeals in earlier life. With the promise to set the future straight and acknowledge the failures of successive governments to hear the voices of these women, the Taoiseach made a powerful state apology and invited Justice John Quirke to look into developing a compensation scheme for the Magdalene Women.
What is the Restorative Justice Scheme and what does it cover?
In June 2013 it was announced that a scheme of payments for women who were admitted to and worked in the Magdalene Laundries, St Mary’s Training Centre Stanhope Street and House of Mercy Training School, Summerhill, Wexford would be launched. This followed the publication of the report by Justice Quirke, President of the Law Reform Commission, on the establishment of a scheme and support for the women affected.
Mr Justice Quirke’s most significant recommendation is that the women in question should all receive cash payments in the range €11,500 (duration of stay 3 months or less) to €100,000 (duration of stay of 10 years or more). If the cash payment due is above €50,000, Justice Quirke recommends that it should paid in the form of a lump sum of €50,000 plus an annual payment related to the notional remaining lump, sum to be paid weekly. The amount to be paid depends on the duration of stay of a resident in a Magdalene Laundry.
Since the announcement, the Irish Department of Justice and Equality processed applications immediately and does so to this day.
Successful applicants are able to access lump sum payments (based on their duration of stay in Magdalene Laundry), an Irish pension and an Irish medical card.
How can those affected apply?
If you were resident in a Magdalene Laundry in Ireland, applications can be made with our support or directly through the Department of Justice and Equality. We have supported a significant number of Survivors so far with applications, and we continue to offer assistance with filling out applications for clients and liaising with the Department on the client’s behalf.
We invite anyone who seeks further information about the scheme to contact us for support.
How can I get in touch?
If you were resident in a Magdalene Laundry in Ireland, (or if you know someone who was) and would like to find out more about the Restorative Justice Scheme, please feel free to contact us by calling 0207 267 9997 or emailing [email protected]
Feel free to contact the Department of Justice and Equality directly, as they will be able to inform you of next steps.
To make a confidential call to the Department from outside of the Republic of Ireland, the number to dial is: 00 353 1 476 8660.
Or contact via email at: [email protected]
Or by Post: Restorative Justice Scheme, Department of Justice and Equality, Montague Court, 7-11 Montague Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.