Denied compensation: Magdalene survivor Maureen Sullivan
On October 23 last, Ellen Coyne, in The Times Ireland edition, reported how some women who worked in Magdalene Laundries feared the Government was trying to limit their compensation.
These are women who would have lived in adjoining institutions to the laundries, as opposed to the laundries themselves.
Ms Coyne reported:
The Department of Justice is asking the women to provide details of how many hours they worked in the laundries, despite few records of rosters being available.
Until now, compensation for Magdalene survivors has been based on the months and years spent in the laundries and not the number of hours worked.
…The 2013 Quirke report had said that compensation would be calculated based on the number of months or years that a woman had worked in the laundry, and survivors were never asked on previous applications for redress how many hours they worked.
“How do the government expect me to answer that question with any sort of accuracy?” said “Anna”, a 56-year-old survivor.
Further to this on today’s News At One on RTÉ One.
A woman who worked in a laundry – Maureen Sullivan, from Carlow – told RTE reporter Joan O’Sullivan that she has been supplying information to the Department of Justice since 2009, as part of her application for redress, and the department is still asking her questions.
Ms Sullivan said:
“I first started in 2009 and this is 2018.
“We have all the proof that we were in these places, well I have. I’ve all the proof and still they’re looking for bits of paper that doesn’t make sense.
“Like, they’ve asked me for my mother’s marriage certificate but I think to leave us hanging on this long and to put us through all this over and over again.
“It just causes frustration and our age group – we’re not able for this.
“Like my friend, 84 years of age, here, not far from me, in Carlow, she can’t cope with it any more. She’s been through the courts and everything.
“She was one of the women in the last group that took it into court and still this woman – they even refused to give her a meeting, to sit down and speak with her. So she just can’t take it anymore.
“She’s not able for it. And I think that’s awful sad.
“That’s not what we went out and fought for. And done marches for and brought all this to the fore. And then for an old lady of 84 years of age to be treated like this – it’s just scandalous.
“It’s very stressful and it’s like as if they’re calling us liars.”
Claire Byrne spoke with the Ombudsman Peter Tyndall who published a report last year called Opportunity Lost – An Investigation by the Ombudsman in to the administration of the Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme, in which he criticised the Department of Justice for its administration of the scheme and it’s exclusion of the women who worked at the laundries.
He told Ms Byrne:
“As far as we were concerned, they [the women who worked in the laundries but lived in adjoining institutions] could have been admitted to the original scheme. It didn’t require an addendum to the scheme but Government have taken the view that an addendum is necessary to enable them to access the scheme.
“If that were the case, it should have been processed and dealt with quickly. Our concern has been that it’s a year since the report was issued. That addendum still hasn’t been finalised.”
Listen back in full here