‘The Irish Government Does Not Believe A New Inquiry Is Warranted’


 Martin McAleese with his report into the Magdalene Laundries

The Irish Government has rejected the UN Committee Against Torture’s call last year for an investigation into allegations of ill treatment of women in Magdalene Laundries.

Specifically the committee said last year its repeated requests to investigate “allegations of ill-treatment of women at the Magdalene Laundries, prosecute perpetrators and ensure that victims obtain redress and have an enforceable right to compensation, have not been implemented”.

In response, the Department of Justice has said:

“…the Irish Government does not believe that a new enquiry is warranted. It is satisfied that the finding of the 1,000 page report of the Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with Magdalen Laundries – the McAleese Report – brought into the public arena a considerable amount of information not previously known about Magdalen Laundries.

“The McAleese Committee had no remit to investigate or make determinations about allegations of torture or any other criminal offence.

“However, it did take the opportunity to record evidence and testimony that might throw light on allegations of systematic abuse.

“In this context, 118 women who had been in these institutions agreed to complete a questionnaire on conditions (food, punishment etc.) in these institutions and/or to meet with and discuss these issues with the independent Chair.

No factual evidence to support allegations of systematic torture or ill treatment of a criminal nature in these institutions was found. The majority of women did report verbal abuse but not of a nature that would constitute a criminal offence.

“There is no doubt that the working conditions were harsh and the work was physically demanding. A small number of women did describe instances of physical punishment during their time in the institutions.

However, the large majority of women said they had neither experienced nor seen other girls or women suffer physical abuse in the Magdalen Laundries.

“The majority of women who engaged with the Committee had been at Reformatory or Industrial Schools prior to their admission to a Magdalen Laundry. They stated clearly that the ill-treatment which they had witnessed and been subjected to in Industrial and Reformatory Schools was not a feature of the Magdalen Laundries.

“The Committee interviewed a number of medical doctors who had attended the women in the Magdalen laundries and who had in some cases reviewed earlier records. They did not recall any indication or evidence of physical maltreatment

No individuals claiming to be victims of criminal abuse in Magdalen laundries have made any complaints or requests to the Department of Justice and Equality seeking further inquiries or criminal investigations.

“While isolated incidents of criminal behaviour cannot be ruled out, in light of facts uncovered by the McAleese Committee and in the absence of any credible evidence of systematic torture or criminal abuse being committed in the Magdalen laundries, the Irish Government does not propose to set up a specific Magdalen inquiry or investigation.

“It is satisfied that the existing mechanisms for the investigation and, where appropriate, prosecution of criminal offences can address individual complaints of criminal behaviour if any such complaints are made.

“It is open to anyone who believes a criminal act took place to make a criminal complaint and it will be investigated. To date no individuals claiming to be victims of criminal abuse in Magdalen laundries have made any complaints or requests to the Department of Justice and Equality seeking further inquiries or criminal investigations.

“Further, a total of 337 women were met during the subsequent process led by Judge Quirke to make recommendations to the Government for a redress scheme. The report made by Judge Quirke specifically noted that the accounts provided by 337 women interviewed during that process were “entirely consistent” with the observations of then-Senator McAleese in the Report.”

The Department of Justice’s response to the UN can be read in full here

Plea for Magdalene inquiry is rejected (Ellen Coyne, The Times Ireland edition)

Previously: UNfinished Business

Standing By McAleese

The McAleese Report: A Conclusion

23 thoughts on “‘The Irish Government Does Not Believe A New Inquiry Is Warranted’

  1. postmanpat

    Cue, outrage by semi-practicing self identifying Catholics (the baptize their kids, marry in church) who moan that the state should compensate the victims, but really just so it will alleviate there own cognitive dissonance and they can go back to picking out the communion outfits and organizing the bouncy castle.

    1. Cú Chulainn

      Really, is that the best you can do. Something as serious at this and you think a glib comment cuts it. Shame on that rc apologist McAleese. His report is total and absolute white wash. Shame on him. Compensation, yes, but what we want are criminal prosecutions for the perpetrators and justice for the victims.

      1. postmanpat

        Most of the country are RC apologists. That’s why you get so many blaming the nebulous government but not a peep of outrage when the church doesn’t pay there share , even though the crimes were committed exclusively by the clergy and the RC has the most wealth of any organization ever. The public are god fearing dopes, suing the church doesn’t sit well even with the brainwashed victims themselves. This is why priests don’t go to jail, the public doesn’t have the stomach for it, they prefer the state pay compensation with earthly public money and go back to arranging the kids confirmation gazebo with a clear conscience and a squeaky clean RC soul full of forgiveness and all that made up ploppy poop-poop.

  2. Anomanomanom

    So spend more money to find out what we know. The people running those places were sadistic animals and abuse 100% happened.

  3. Ron

    and the Irish people will just accept that and move on like the compliant skippy little lambs that they are.

    There needs to be made demonstrations on the street. No wonder they show such contempt for the people they purport to represent. they are not even trying to hide it anymore

    1. postmanpat

      Saving public time and money repeating a pointless exercise is hardy contempt. Church run state bodies = bad. Little physical proof but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, it just means they cant prosecute. The government cant just hand out public money to everyone with a sad story. A school teacher slapped me once in the eighties for doing a copybook exercise wrong, this was after corporal punishment was made illegal. I know it happened, I’ve no proof so I get nothing. Or I could be lying. That’s what she’d say.

  4. BS

    I know social and political apathy is the beginning of the end for civilisation….

    but i just cant be bothered being outraged anymore…about anything, housing crisis, tribunal after investigation after report and nothing done…its easier to just let it wash over you…they have won…they can do what they want and say what they want and it will never change. all we can do is work towards the sweet release of death

    1. Ronan

      True. We’re largely immune to shock at this point.

      It’s particularly easy to move on after 5 minutes when you haven’t experienced these issues, and have no need (or likely future need) for extended social services.

      It’s easy for me to lament the health service but I have a high level of insurance cover.
      It’s easy for me to worry about social welfare but I have quite robust income protection and life insurance.
      It’s easy for me to foresee becoming jobless but I’ve consistently and constantly refreshed my skills, and I can work internationally quite easily if required.
      It’s easy for me to feel despair at homelessness, but we have a mortgage and a roof over our heads, and we could just about manage on one salary if it came to it.

      There’s a million things wrong with the country that will never affect me personally, if we need help in future we have largely provided for it and insulated ourselves against shock. With the number of drums being banged, I am desensitized to the outrage. There are simply too many tough cases and deficiencies in services for me to feel that this is the particular issue that will make me stand up and shout no more.

      There’s a sense of futility combined with a sense of broadly going in the right direction with not enough surplus to look after the hardest cases.

  5. starvin marvin

    Until all the different crimes are fully investigated during the Irish holocaust this nation cannot hold its head up
    Maybe the collusion between state and church is still going on hence no abortion yet
    Seems instead of the eight amendments we have the delay due to courts amendment

  6. Andrew

    Mr. McAleese is/was a dentist if memory serves. Why was a dentist appointed to investigate this in the first place? What was the reasoning there?

  7. wearnicehats

    It’s a shame that Mary McAleese’s legacy will forever be blighted by her husband’s cowardice. Astonishing that she let it happen.

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