Minister Kathleen Lynch says calls for Magdalene apology 'premature'

Tuesday 25 September 2012 23.39
Former Magdalene laundry in Donnybrook in Dublin
Former Magdalene laundry in Donnybrook in Dublin

A Government minister has said a Dáil motion calling for an apology and redress for victims of the Magdalene Laundries was "premature".

Labour TD Kathleen Lynch told the House that an inter-departmental committee, chaired by Senator Martin McAleese, will report by the end of the year, allowing for a proper debate and a Government response.

Proposing the motion, Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald said time is not on the side of the Magdalene women. 

She said it was not in doubt that there was cruelty against them, and State collusion with religous orders who "enslaved them for commercial gain

She said the McAleese committee was quantifying the extent of the collusion, but the existence of collusion and cruelty was established.

Fine Gael's Jerry Buttimer said there was symmetry to the evening's business - they were discussing the failure to protect women in the Magdalene Laundries, after earlier dealing with legislation for the Children's Rights Referendum to address the failure to protect children.

Labour's Michael McCarthy described the treatment of the Magdalene women as "our own Holocaust", and criticised a senior cleric who in recent weeks "had the temerity to say that paedophilia was friendship gone too far".

Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan said people couldn't be blamed for thinking that the excuse of waiting for the report of the McAleese Committee was "delaying tactics".

She said as an interim measure, the apology could come sooner rather than later.

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