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Justice for Magdalenes

Magdalene Laundries Press Releases

19 February 2014

JFM Research publishes Supplementary Guide to Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme

JFM Research has published a Supplementary Survivor Guide to the Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme.

In July 2013, in response to the difficulty expressed by some survivors in understanding their entitlements under the Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme (referred to as the ‘Ex-Gratia Scheme’), JFM Research published a Survivor Guide to the Restorative Justice Scheme to provide guidance and inform, empower and enable survivors.

Unfortunately, some survivors have continued to express confusion and distress in navigating the Scheme. With this in mind therefore, this Supplementary Guide represents a response to ongoing concerns JFM Research has with the Ex Gratia scheme, many of which are laid out in an opinion piece in today's Irish Examiner.

Read the full press release here


5 February 2014

JFM Research welcomes UNCAT list of issues, citing grave concerns about Magdalene Scheme

JFM Research welcomes the UN Report on the Holy See and points out that the Catholic church and the four religious orders that ran Magdalene Laundries in Ireland (Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Mercy, Good Shepherd Sisters, Sisters of our Lady of Charity) HAVE refused to accept unanimous survivor testimony that they were imprisoned and subjected to forced labour and torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. None of the orders have offered an apology to Magdalene survivors, nor have they contributed to the compensation fund. The Catholic Church has not made any attempt to instigate an internal investigation into Magdalene abuse, nor has it held anyone accountable for what happened. Moreover, the State has allowed the church to continue to operate in secrecy, with the religious orders insisting that records submitted to the McAleese Committee should be returned and copies destroyed.

Read the full press release here


28 November 2013

JFM Research welcomes UNCAT list of issues, citing grave concerns about Magdalene Scheme

Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFM Research) welcomes the publication of the UN Committee Against Torture’s (UNCAT) ‘List of Issues’ for Ireland's forthcoming examination in 2015. In particular, we consider significant the strong signal of the Committee’s ongoing concerns with the government's response to its earlier recommendation on the Magdalene Laundries (June 2011). That recommendation called for a ‘prompt, thorough and independent investigation’ and it underscored the State's obligation to ensure survivors obtain redress. That these concerns, and others related to the McAleese and Quirke Reports, are foregrounded once again in today's list of issues draws attention to continuing failures on the part of the Irish government.

Read the full press release here


07 November 2013

JFM Research welcomes progress on Magdalene Scheme, but raises concerns about accuracy of McAleese Report

Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFM Research) welcomes the news that the State is committed to ensuring that Magdalene survivors receive their lump sum entitlements in a 4 to 6 week window. We are concerned, however that the State is not yet ready to deliver on the promise of pensions and health care benefits, which await the passage of new legislation. It is now over four months since the government accepted Justice Quirke's Scheme in principle. We question why the necessary legislation is not already in place to facilitate these additional benefits.

JFM Research remains concerned for those survivors for whom records, including duration of stay records, are not available. The McAleese Report contends in Chapter 8 that duration of stay records are available in only 42% of known admissions. Survivors for whom records indicating duration of stay no longer exists must not be discriminated against in obtaining/receiving redress and other entitlements.

Read the full press release here


05 July 2013

JFM Research publishes Survivor Guide to Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme

Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFM Research), the survivor advocacy group, has published a Survivor Guide to the Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme, which aims to assist survivors in understanding their entitlements under the Scheme developed by Mr Justice John Quirke and announced by the government on 26th June.

In a personal capacity, the members of JFM Research have been assisting the 40 survivors in contact with us since JFM exited the political arena in May 2013. Some survivors have expressed difficulty in understanding their entitlements under the Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme and have sought assistance with their applications. Therefore JFM Research has compiled this Guide to inform, empower and enable survivors and provide guidance in filling out the application form for the Scheme for those who are interested in availing of it.

Read the full press release here
Read the Survivor Guide to Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme here


18 June 2013

JFM Research welcomes call for immediate redress for Magdalene women based on human rights abuses

Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFM), welcomes the publication today of the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) “Follow-up Report on State Involvement with Magdalen Laundries” which gives a detailed overview of the “systemic human rights failings” on the part of the Irish State in relation to the human rights abuses suffered by the girls and women of the Magdalene Laundries. The IHRC Report says that it is “difficult to discern” why the State repeatedly denied its involvement in the Laundries given the material that was available to it in Government Departments but that “the State can be in no doubt that it acted wrongfully”.

Read the full press release here


17 May 2013

Justice for Magdalenes Ends its Political Campaign

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, is announcing the end of its political campaign, begun in June 2009.

As outlined in JFM’s Public Disclosure, the political campaign had twin objectives, namely:

(i) to bring about an official apology from the Irish State, and
(ii) the establishment of a compensation scheme for all Magdalene survivors.

And, as our Public Disclosure explains, “[o]nce JFM achieves these objectives, the door will be open to every survivor and/or her family members and/or other groups representing Magdalene survivors to pursue their own claim for redress.”

Read the full press release/exit statement here


26 March 2013

Justice for Magdalenes publishes Survivor Guide to Magdalen Commission

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, has published a guide, entitled Survivor Guide to Magdalen Commission,for women who were incarcerated in the Magdalene Laundries as they prepare to engage with the Magdalen Fund.

Following the official State apology issued by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny on 19th February 2013, the government asked Justice John Quirke to undertake a three-month review and make recommendations to the Government about the criteria for applying to the Magdalen Fund for payments and other supports.

Read more >>

Download the Survivor Guide to Magdalen Commission here
Download the Relatives Guide to the Magdalen Commission here


10 March 2013

Justice for Magdalenes makes submission to the UN Committee Against Torture regarding its follow-up to Ireland’s most recent State Party Report; plans to meet Justice Quirke in coming week

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, has made a submission to the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) regarding the Irish government's recent apology and initial steps towards a reparations process for survivors of Magdalene Laundries abuse.

In addition, members of the group will meet this Wednesday, 13th March, with Justice Quirke, who has been tasked with taking into account the findings of the “Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalene Laundries and to advise on the establishment of an ex gratia Scheme”.

Read JFM UNCAT Submission >>
Read full press release >>


19 February 2013

Justice for Magdalenes welcomes the official State apology

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, welcomes An Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny’s official apology to survivors of the Magdalene Laundries in the Dáil this afternoon.

JFM arranged for a group of surviving women, children and family members to sit in the public gallery in Dáil Éireann and all of them wish to acknowledge Mr. Kenny’s sincere and heartfelt words of sorrow on behalf of all Irish citizens and the Irish State. This was a deeply meaningful experience for people who never thought they would see this day, and the official apology, come to pass. JFM thanks Mr. Kenny on their behalf.

Read more >>


17 February 2013

Magdalene women deserve a fair, non-adversarial and transparent compensation package

As the Cabinet prepares to make an apology to Magdalene survivors on Tuesday, the question on everyone's mind is how redress can be provided to these women, who every day still suffer the effects of their incarceration and forced, unpaid labour.

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) is in agreement with the London Irish Women Survivors Support Group and Magdalene Survivors Together that a package needs to be prepared for these women, that includes pensions, healthcare and counselling, housing services and advice.

Read more >>


16 February 2013

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, is looking forward to the debate on the Magdalene Laundries Report in Dáil Éireann this coming Tuesday (19 February 2013)

In advance of the Debate, JFM is publishing a redacted version of its Principal Submission to the Inter-Departmental Committee Investigating State Involvement with the Magdalene Laundries. JFM has taken this action with full permission from those who submitted their testimonies. Our group welcomes the findings in the Committee’s final report of “significant” and “direct” State Involvement. We are concerned, however, that members of the Oireachtas and the general public have the opportunity to read and consider testimony from survivors and family members of conditions experienced within these institutions. JFM submitted almost 800 pages of written testimony to the Committee. For reasons that are as yet unspecified, not a single line of the written testimony appears in the consideration of living and working conditions in the laundries. Read JFM’s Principal Submission.

Read More >>


10 February 2013

Justice for Magdalenes clarification regarding Taoiseach meeting

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) seeks to clarify the circumstances surrounding a reported meeting between An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D., and Magdalene survivors.

Read More >>


5 February 2013

Senator Martin McAleese’s Report Finds that the Irish State was Directly Involved in the Magdalene Laundry System

Justice for Magdalenes welcomes both Senator Martin McAleese’s central findings that the State was directly and fundamentally involved in the Magdalene Laundry Institutions and also his wish that his Report brings “healing and peace of mind to all concerned, most especially the women whose lived experience of the Magdalene Laundries had a profound and enduring negative effect on their lives”. (p. XI)

Read More >>


JFM awaits the release of the Inter-Departmental Committee Investigating State Involvement with the Magdalen Laundries

“My mother was Magdalene No. 322. Real name Margaret."

“Margaret died in July 2003,one day before her 51st birthday. She died of her slave related injuries.”

“Mum lived 27 yrs in the servitude of nuns, losing me for the crime of becoming pregnant outside marriage.”

“A visit to Fatima & a few bob for the hospitals that were good to me.”

These and other poignant, heartbreaking comments are reverberating now on Twitter, Facebook and in the media, along with the trending hashtag #justiceformagdalenesNOW.

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) is a survivor advocacy group which has fought a ten-year campaign to bring about (i) an official apology from the Irish State and the Catholic Church, and (ii) the establishment of a distinct compensation scheme for all Magdalene survivors. In the days preceding the release of Senator Martin McAleese’s final report, JFM has organised a concerted campaign to keep pressure on the government to take immediate and appropriate action in response to the report’s conclusions.

Read entire media advisory >>


3 February 2013

JFM awaits the release of the Inter-Departmental Committee Investigating State Involvement with the Magdalen Laundries

“My mother was Magdalene No. 322. Real name Margaret."

“Margaret died in July 2003,one day before her 51st birthday. She died of her slave related injuries.”

“Mum lived 27 yrs in the servitude of nuns, losing me for the crime of becoming pregnant outside marriage.”

“A visit to Fatima & a few bob for the hospitals that were good to me.”

These and other poignant, heartbreaking comments are reverberating now on Twitter, Facebook and in the media, along with the trending hashtag #justiceformagdalenesNOW.

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) is a survivor advocacy group which has fought a ten-year campaign to bring about (i) an official apology from the Irish State and the Catholic Church, and (ii) the establishment of a distinct compensation scheme for all Magdalene survivors. In the days preceding the release of Senator Martin McAleese’s final report, JFM has organised a concerted campaign to keep pressure on the government to take immediate and appropriate action in response to the report’s conclusions.

Read entire media advisory >>


25 September 2012

JFM calls for dignified debate on Magdalene Laundries

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, has asked for a dignified debate of a motion on the Magdalene Laundries this week in the Dáil. The motion tabled by the Sinn Féin party will be debated during Private Member Business in Dáil Éireann on Tuesday and Wednesday evening. JFM endorses the motion as reasonable and driven by survivors’ pressing needs.

The government should address these needs immediately and survivors can no longer be asked to wait until the publication of the Inter-Departmental Committee’s final report. Simply put, many women just don’t have that time. They need help now.

Read entire press release >>


18 September 2012

JFM demands immediate government action for Magdalene survivors

Justice for Magdalenes is this week providing every TD and Senator with a redacted copy of its recent principal submission to the Inter-Departmental Committee investigating State involvement with the Magdalene Laundries. We do so with survivors’ consent and identities have been protected.

"State Involvement with the Magdalene Laundries," a 145-page document with an additional 30-page index of supporting materials, offers overwhelming and irrefutable evidence of State complicity in the abuses experienced by young girls and women in these institutions. The original submission was supported by some 795 pages of newly gathered survivor testimony which is consistent with the 3,707 pages of archival evidence and legislative documentation also provided to the Inter-Departmental Committee.

Read entire press release >>
Read JFM Summary of State Involvement with the Magdalene Laundries >>


11 September 2012

JFM says McAleese report delay should not prevent State action on Magdalenes

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, is shocked and disappointed by today’s announcement that the final report of the “Inter-Departmental Committee investigating State Involvement with the Magdalene Laundries” may now not appear until the end of the year and is calling on the government to act immediately.

JFM is gravely concerned for the welfare of survivors, who are mostly aging and elderly women, many of them vulnerable. They have already waited too long for an apology, for redress, and for restorative justice. Further delay is unacceptable. JFM is calling on the Irish State to issue an immediate apology and implement a reparation scheme for women incarcerated in Ireland's Magdalene Laundries.

Read entire press release >>
Read Minister Shatter's press release >>


25 July 2012

Justice for Magdalenes strongly welcomes Geoffrey Shannon’s call for redress for Magdalene survivors

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, has strongly welcomed the Fifth Report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection. In the report, Geoffrey Shannon has called for “acknowledgement, redress and accountability” for Magdalene Laundry survivors, whose treatment he described as “horrendous”, stating that it “constituted slavery”.

Read entire press release >>
Read the Fifth Report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection >>


7 June 2012

Justice for Magdalenes helps organise survivor meeting with Senator McAleese

Justice for Magdalenes is pleased to confirm that a group of Magdalene survivors in contact with the organisation met today with Senator Martin McAleese, Independent Chairperson of the Inter-departmental Committee to "clarify state interaction with the Magdalene Laundries". The meeting was a deliberately private event, in accordance with the wishes of the women and consistent with the organisation’s ethos to put the dignity and privacy of survivors first.

Read entire press release >>


28 May 2012

One year after UN Recommendation Magdalene women are no closer to an apology or redress

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, is today submitting its NGO Follow Up Report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) in Geneva, Switzerland. This one-year follow up process requires the Irish State to report back on measures taken to put last June’s recommendation on the Magdalene Laundries into effect (see copy of Recommendation below[Note 6]). JFM finds it unacceptable that 12 months later Magdalene survivors are still waiting for an apology, redress and reparation.

Read entire press release >>


15 March 2012

Irish Human Rights Commission, Women’s Human Rights Alliance and Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) address UN Human Rights Council on Magdalene Laundries abuse

The Irish Human Rights Commission has made a statement to the UN Human Rights Council calling on the government to address the issue of reparation for survivors of the Magdalene Laundries. The Women’s Human Rights Alliance (WHRA), led by the National Women’s Council of Ireland, also made a statement to the Human Rights Council urging the government to comply with the recommendations of the UN Committee against Torture and Irish Human Rights Commission to institute a statutory inquiry and compensation scheme for the Magdalene Laundries abuse.

Read entire press release >>


26 October 2011

Justice for Magdalenes cautiously welcomes Magdalene Inter-Departmental Committee Interim Report

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, has welcomed the interim progress report of the Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalene Laundries. The report was published yesterday by the Department of Justice, with Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter TD, welcoming the co-operation the Committee is receiving from Government Departments, the religious orders and representative groups of women who were formerly resident in the Laundries. He is aware of the complexity of the task involved and notes the Committee’s intention to conclude their work by mid 2012. JFM also acknowledges this work, although remains guarded on several key concerns.

Read entire press release >>


14 October 2011

JFM submits Restorative Justice & Reparations Scheme for Magdalene Survivors to Ministers Shatter and Lynch

Justice for Magdalenes submitted a revised "Restorative Justice & Reparations Scheme for Magdalene Laundry Survivors" to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Minister for Disability, Equality and Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch. "The submission is part of an ongoing consultative process initiated by both Ministers which JFM hopes will inform the State's actions as the ongoing government investigation moves forward", said Dr. Katherine O'Donnell, Women's Studies, School of Social Justice, UCD and JFM Advisory Committee member.

JFM's proposed Restorative Justice and Reparations Scheme contains four main elements: (1) a state apology, (2) a dedicated unit within the Department of Justice for survivors of Magdalene Laundries, (3) a Commission for Financial Reparation (involving a conditional extension of the Residential Institutions Redress Board), and (4) preservation of the historical record.

Read entire press release >>
Read the Restorative Justice & Reparations Scheme >>


4 July 2011

JFM has positive first meeting with Ministers Shatter and Lynch

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, met this morning with Minister for Justice, Mr. Alan Shatter, T.D., and Minister for State, Ms. Kathleen Lynch, T.D. The meeting took place at the Department of Justice Headquarters, St. Stephen’s Green. Joining JFM at the meeting were Councillor Sally Mulready and Ms. Phyllis Morgan, from the Irish Women’s Survivors’ Network, which meets at the London Irish Centre.

Read entire press release >>


1 July 2011

JFM Welcomes Appointment of Chair for Inter-departmental Committee on Magdalene Laundries

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, welcomes the government’s announcement today of Dr. Martin McAleese as the Chair of the Inter-Departmental Committee that will seek to clarify State interaction with the Magdalene Laundries. Dr. McAleese was recently appointed as a Taoiseach’s nominee to the Seanad and is the husband of President Mary McAleese.

Read entire press release >>


30 June 2011

JFM to meet with Ministers Shatter and Lynch and hold public forum

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, will meet with Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter and Minister for State, Kathleen Lynch, next week as part of the government's proposed series of meetings with "groups representing former residents of the Magdalene Laundries."

JFM will also conduct a public forum on Tuesday, 5th July, at UCD's Humanities Institute of Ireland on the Belfield Campus. Beginning at 10 a.m. in the "Seminar Room," JFM will present its Narrative of State Interaction with the Magdalene Laundries to members of the public and to survivors, who are welcome to attend.

Read entire press release >>


24 June 2011

JFM supports Bethany Survivors in rejecting Ruairi Quinn refusal to include Bethany Home survivors in redress scheme

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, stands with and supports survivors of the Bethany Home in their rejection of a recent statement by Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn. Minister Quinn turned down the survivors' request to have the Home included in the Schedule to the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme. They met the Minister on 24 May last, accompanied by other survivors from the home and by Niall Meehan from Griffith College Dublin.

Read entire press release >>


14 June 2011

JFM welcomes Magdalene inquiry announcement and pledges to participate

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, welcomes the government’s announcement this evening, in particular the establishment of an Inter-departmental Committee, chaired by an independent person, and we see this as a further positive step to bringing “Restorative Justice and Reparations” to all survivors of the Magdalene Laundries.

Much work remains to be done, however, and JFM looks forward to working with both the State and the religious congregations in the coming weeks and months to bring about a prompt and timely resolution to this “restorative and reconciliation process”. JFM has already proposed a structure that might be utilized to facilitate this process, which the UN Committee Against Torture has recommended that the government examine more closely.

Read entire press release >>
Read the full Government Statement >>


5 June 2011

JFM welcomes UN Committee recommendation for statutory inquiry and redress for Magdalenes, prosecution and punishment of perpetrators

The UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) today issued its "Concluding Observations" following the first examination of the Irish State under the UN Convention Against Torture. The Committee reiterated its calls for an independent investigation into the Magdalene Laundries abuse and redress for the women who suffered. It also recommended that the State "prosecute and punish the perpetrators with penalties commensurate with the gravity of the offences committed."

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, is now calling on the Irish State to act immediately on foot of UNCAT’s recommendations and issue a formal apology to all survivors of the Magdalene Laundries and immediately establish a statutory inquiry into these abuses.

Read entire press release >>


2 June 2011

NWCI again urges women politicians to support Justice for Magdalenes

Susan McKay, CEO of the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI), is writing to all women TDs, Senators, and Local Councillors encouraging them to support Justice of Magdalene's (JFM) proposed Restorative Justice and Reparations Scheme for all survivors of the Magdalene Laundries. McKay's letter reminds women politicians that:

"JFM is calling for; an apology from the State and the religious orders who ran the Magadalen laundries, a lump sum compensation scheme for women survivors, a statutory pension reflecting their years of work in the laundry institutions, and complete access to their records…The National Women’s Council supports this call for justice."

Read entire press release >>


24 May 2011

UN Committee reiterates call for independent investigation and redress for Magdalene Laundry abuses

The UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) today repeated its requests for an independent investigation into the Magdalene Laundries abuse and redress for the women who suffered. During the same UNCAT session today, the Irish government was responding to a series of questions asked yesterday as part of the examination by the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) in Geneva, Switzerland. Mr. Seán Aylward, Secretary General, Department of Justice and Equality, and Head of the Irish Delegation, began by responding to questions about the government’s failure to investigate and provide redress for abuses in Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries.

Read entire press release >>


23 May 2011

UN calls on Ireland to investigate Magdalene Laundries abuse

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, is calling on the Irish government to act immediately on foot of calls from members of the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) for an independent investigation into human rights violations in the Magdalene Laundries and redress for the women who suffered.

The United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) today examined Ireland for the first time in Geneva, Switzerland. Today’s examination follows the "closed" NGO Briefing Session on Friday last, when JFM was invited to make a statement before the Committee (copy attached, below). Tomorrow afternoon, the Committee will hear responses from the Irish government delegation to the questions asked today.

Read entire press release >>


20 May 2011

Justice for Magdalenes makes statement before UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva

The United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) has invited Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, to make a statement as part of the "NGO Briefing Session" in Geneva, Switzerland on Friday, 20th May 2011. Maeve O’Rourke (Harvard LL.M., Harvard Law School 2010 Global Human Rights Fellow) will represent JFM in Geneva.

UNCAT is due to examine Ireland for the first time on the extent to which it is meeting its human rights obligations to prevent torture, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, on Monday and Tuesday, 23rd and 24th May, 2011. Friday’s Briefing Session affords NGOs the opportunity to inform the Committee on issues prior to the subsequent government examination.

Read entire press release >>


22 April 2011

JFM makes submission to the United Nations Committee Against Torture

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, has made a formal submission to the United Nations Committee Against Torture. The Committee Against Torture is due to examine Ireland for the first time on the extent to which it is meeting its human rights obligations to prevent torture, other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment on 23rd and 24th May 2011.

JFM's submission draws attention to Ireland's legal duties under the Convention Against Torture to promptly and impartially investigate allegations of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and to ensure redress for the victims of such treatment.

Read entire press release >>
Read the JFM submission to the Convention Against Torture >>
Read the JFM submission to the United Nations Periodic Review >>


29 March 2011

JFM presents "Restorative Justice and Reparations Scheme" to government

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, has submitted a revised "Restorative Justice and Reparations Scheme" to Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, T.D., updating the July 2009 proposed scheme, which began the group's current campaign. The revised scheme reflects JFM's ongoing dialogue and consultation with individual survivors in Ireland, the US and the UK. The latter includes the Irish Women's Survivors Support Network located at the London Irish Centre, which is led by London based Labour Councillor Sally Mulready.

Read entire press release >>
Read the Restorative Justice and Reparations Scheme>>


11 February 2011

JFM calls on election candidates to declare support for survivors of Magdalene Laundrie
Oireachtas Ad Hoc Committee on the Magdalene Laundries issues statement of support

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, calls on all candidates contesting the General Election to publicly commit to bringing about justice for Magdalene women.

Three months ago today the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) published its assessment of abuses in the Magdalene laundries. On the same day, the Taoiseach referred the report to the Attorney General for review and evaluation. Nothing has been heard since. The outgoing government leaves a legacy of total failure to act on behalf of this group of vulnerable citizens.

Read entire press release >>
Read the Ad Hoc Oireachtas Committee Statement of Support>>
Read the original IHRC Statement, 09 November 2011>>
Download and print our election flyer, and get involved!

Related Articles:
Read a discussion of the PR at Fairocracy.com >>
Prof. James Smith's recent letter to the Examiner on PaddyDoyle.com >>


09 November 2010

JFM welcomes IHRC call for statutory enquiry on the Magdalene Laundries

Survivor advocacy group Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) welcomes the Irish Human Rights Commission’s (IHRC) validation of the evidence submitted in seeking a formal inquiry into the State’s responsibility for human rights violations in the Magdalene Laundries. JFM’s submission argues that the treatment of the women and girls in the Laundries violated their constitutional rights, including the right to bodily integrity, the right not to be tortured or ill-treated, the right to earn a livelihood, the right to communicate, the right to individual privacy, the right to travel, the right to one’s good name and the right to one’s person.

Read entire press release >>
Read full IHRC statement >>
Read JFM's campaign history


6 August 2010

Justice for Magdalenes calls on Galway City Council to reverse its decision regarding Magdalene memorial statue

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), an advocacy group for survivors of Ireland’s Magdalene laundries, urges Galway City Council to reverse its decision to remove a statue memorialising the women who lived, worked and, in some cases, died at the Sisters of Mercy Magdalene laundry in the city. Dedicated in March 2009, the Mick Wilkins statue was commissioned by the same city councillors who now seek to remove it.

Read more >>


09 July 2010

NWCI urges women politicians to support Justice for Magdalenes

At their recent AGM, the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) passed a motion supporting the survivor advocacy group Justice for Magdalene's (JFM) campaign to bring about (i) a formal apology and (ii) a distinct redress scheme for all Magdalene survivors. This week Susan McKay, Director of NWCI, is writing to all women TDs, Senators, and Local Councillors to urge them to support JFM's call for justice. McKay's letter reminds women politicians that:

"Justice must be done and a clear and resounding message must emanate from Government that the treatment of these women and their children was a severe violation of their human rights."

Read more >>


25 June 2010

Government exploring an apology for Magdalene survivors while denying any State liability

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, met with Department of Justice officials who the government have designated “to take the lead role and coordinate” the State’s response to the Magdalene issue. JFM’s ongoing work details extensive, cross-departmental, State involvement in the operation and function of the Magdalene institutions.

Read more >>


24 June 2010

Cardinal Brady hopes Catholic religious will engage with Justice for Magdalenes (JFM)

Cardinal Sean Brady followed his assertion on April 1st, 2010 that he wanted a “just solution” for Magdalene survivors with an invitation to JFM to meet with him to further discuss "a pathway forward." Today (Thursday, 24 June), a delegation from survivor advocacy group JFM met with the Cardinal and key members of the Bishops’ Conference committee who work with survivors of institutional abuse.

Read more >>


24 June 2010

Justice for Magdalenes Submits Human Rights Application

Survivor advocacy group Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) today met with the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) and Amnesty International Ireland.

JFM applied to the IHRC to conduct a formal enquiry into the State’s obligation to apologise to and provide redress for survivors of the laundries. The IHRC welcomed the submission and agreed to examine the arguments involved as soon as possible, given the time-sensitive nature of the issues for many survivors.

View photos from this event online.

Read more >>


22 June 2010

Pressure Mounts on Cowen as Fianna Fáil TDs Deliver Petition Demanding Justice for Magdalenes

Fianna Fáil TDs Tom Kitt and Michael Kennedy today personally delivered to Brian Cowan the first 1,000 signatures from an online petition demanding a State apology and distinct redress scheme for survivors of the Magdalene laundries.

View photos from this event online.

Read more >>


21 June 2010

Pressure Mounts on Cowen as 1,000 Sign Petition Demanding Justice for Magdalenes

Pressure is mounting on national and international fronts for An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, as over 1,000 people sign an online petition demanding a State apology and distinct redress scheme for survivors of the Magdalene laundries. The petition is sponsored by survivor advocacy group Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), who say that the number of signatories is growing every day.

Read more >>


21 May 2010

One year after the Ryan Report, Irish Government still shirks responsibility for the Magdalene Laundries

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) — a survivor advocacy group — says that the government continues to shirk its responsibility towards survivors of the Magdalene laundries. JFM has launched an online petition and a direct e-mail campaign, both addressed to Mr. Cowen, demanding that he provide leadership on this issue. Almost 450 people have already registered their outrage at the State's inaction. JFM asks the people of Ireland to join us in sending an unmistakable message demanding justice for this community of survivors. Doing so underscores that the work of the Ryan Report is yet incomplete.

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21 May 2010

Press release issued on behalf of Bethany Home survivors: Bethany Home Children's Graves discovered; Former residents call for memorial at gravesite; Bethany Home Survivors Group launched

A Dublin Cemetery has been discovered as the gravesite of forgotten children from the Bethany Home Dublin. Bethany Home was associated with the Church of Ireland and Church of Ireland missionary society, the Irish Church missions to Roman Catholics. It operated in Blackhall Place, Dublin, from 1921-34 and in Orwell Road, Rathgar, until it closed in 1972. The Bethany Home was a combined maternity home, children’s home and place of detention for women convicted of petty theft, prostitution, and infanticide and birth concealment.

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28 April 2010

Taoiseach dismisses abuse of children in Magdalene Laundries – JFM outraged

Mr. Cowen was responding to a series of Parliamentary Questions (copy below) tabled on behalf of Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor-advocacy group, by Mr. Michael Kennedy, T.D. (FF) [27 April 2010]. According to Mr. Cowen, the government contends "that the position of women in such laundries was not analogous with that of children in the residential institutions that were the subject of the Ryan Report."

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6 April 2010

Justice for Magdalenes Urges Minister for Finance to Recover Taxes from Religious Orders

Survivor advocacy group, Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) has written to Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan proposing a means of securing the necessary funds to facilitate, in part, a redress scheme for Magdalene Laundry survivors.

It is JFM's belief that no taxes were ever paid for women and girl "workers" in the Magdalene laundries. This assertion is in light of survivor testimony provided to JFM as well as responses to parliamentary questions from Minister Lenihan and (then) Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Hanafin. Minister Lenihan has declined, on the basis of "confidentiality," to respond to a query about the payment of taxes for women and girls who were put to work in Magdalene laundries. Mary Hanafin confirmed however that PRSI payments were not made.

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25 March 2010

Justice for Magdalenes challenges Taoiseach after meeting with Minister for Health

Minister for Health, Mary Harney received evidence of her department's complicity in referring women to Magdalene Laundries from mother and baby homes at a meeting with the survivor advocacy group, Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) today (Thursday 25th March 2010).

At the meeting, JFM presented evidence, dating to the 1930s, that the Department of Local Government and Public Health's official policy was to transfer women from State-funded mother and baby homes and County Homes into Magdalene Laundries. In December 2009 the Department of Justice accepted that the State was always aware that there was no statutory basis for confining women within these institutions.

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2 February 2010

Department of Education acknowledges its awareness of children in Magdalene laundries

Senior officials in the Department of Education have confirmed the Department's awareness of children being confined in Magdalene laundries as late as 1970. The admission came during a meeting with the survivor advocacy group, Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), on Tuesday morning, 2 February 2010...

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Read Minister O'Keeffe's mailed letter to JFM >>


31 January 2010

Minister acknowledges State complicity as Department meets with Justice for Magdalenes

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, will meet with officials in the Department of Education on Tuesday, 2 February 2010. The meeting follows statements in recent days by the Minister for Education, Mr. Batt O'Keeffe, T.D., revising his earlier assertion that "the State did not refer individuals nor was it complicit in referring individuals to the laundries" (4 September 2009)...

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21 January 2010

Justice for Magdalenes views 19th January Parliamentary Questions with mixed emotions

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) acknowledges with thanks the work of Mr. Ruairi Quinn, T.D. (Labour Party), in tabling a series of Parliamentary Questions in Dáil Éireann on 19th January...

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21 January 2010

Issue of women committed to Magdalenes Laundries needs to be resolved

From Joan Burton TD, Labour Spokesperson on Finance: The issue of women who were committed to Magdalenes Laundries is one of the last unresolved issues of the hidden Ireland of institutions, religious orders and the State, so eloquently set out in the Ryan report and a whole series of articles, films and programmes....

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Watch Deputy Joan Burton's adjournment
debate on Magdalene Laundries >>


16 December 2009

All Party Dáil/Seanad Committee on Magdalenes Formed

The survivor advocacy group Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) announces that members of the Dáil and Seanad are to form an ad hoc committee to address the issue of redress for those incarcerated in Magdalene Laundries...

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15 December 2009

Department of Justice Contradicts Education Minister on Magdalenes

The Department of Justice contradicts the Minister for Education's statement that the State "did not refer individuals nor was it complicit in referring individuals to Ireland's Magdalene Laundries"...

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30 November 2009

Justice for Magdalenes outraged at grave disrespect.

Justice for Magdalenes, the organisation that campaigns for the rights of women incarcerated in Magdalene Laundries, has written to Glasnevin cemetery and the Lord Mayor of Dublin demanding the removal of the storage area that has been erected around the Mecklenburg Street Magdalene grave at Glasnevin Cemetery. The organisation has also written to the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, who have responsibility for the grave....

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7 October 2009

The Minister for Education, Mr. Batt O'Keeffe, again rejects Justice for Magdalene's proposal for a distinct redress scheme for survivors of the laundries.

Mr. O'Keefe was responding to two written Parliamentary Questions in Dáil Éireann yesterday. The first question was tabled by Mr. Tom Kitt, TD (FF). The second question was tabled by Mr. Willie Penrose, TD (Labour) [Copies Attached]. A copy of Justice for Magdalene's letter to An Taoiseach (dated 22 September 2009) was attached to both questions...

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28 September 2009

Justice for Magdalenes reacts to the Minister for Education, Mr. Batt O'Keeffe's expression of regret for any offense caused in referring to survivors as the "former employees" of Ireland's Magdalene laundries.

In a letter to Mr. Tom Kitt, TD, dated 23 September 2009, the Minister for Education expressed "deep regret" for earlier referring to women who worked in the Magdalene Laundries as "former employees." His brief letter concluded, "I fully acknowledge that the word 'workers' would have been more appropriate." A copy of Mr. O'Keeffe's letter is attached to this press release...

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Acrobat Reader documentLetter from Justice for Magdalenes to An Taioseach

Acrobat Reader document'Apology' from Minister Batt O'Keeffe


28 September, 2009

Labour women support magdalene redress scheme

Labour Women support calls for a separate redress scheme for Magdalene women' says Sinead Ni Chulachain, Labour Women Chair.

Over several decades the Irish state allowed the civil liberties of the women and girls in the Magdalene institutions to be violated, and made no attempt to vindicate the constitutional rights of these citizens.

The Magdalene women were imprisoned, abused, ill-treated and traumatised. Their freedom, identity, ability to make decisions or choices, their motherhood and their fundamental rights as free citizens, were stripped away from them. Surely inflicting any of those sufferings on a person, amounts to a gross violation of one's freedoms.

Therefore those responsible have no choice but to apologise. The state has to take responsibility for its inaction.

The women need to know that they were the victims, not the wrong-doers. We need a dignified and fair way to give the Magdalene laundries closure.

[ENDS]


18 September 2009

Justice of Magdalenes has received official notification that the Irish State will neither apologise to survivors of Ireland's Magdalene Laundries nor establish a distinct redress scheme to provide justice for these victims of institutional abuse

Mr. Batt O'Keeffe, Minister for Education, was responding to draft language towards an Apology and distinct redress scheme circulated by Justice for Magdalenes to all members of Daíl Éireann in early July, 2009. The minister responded in a letter directed to Mr. Tom Kitt, TD, who made representations on our behalf. The Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) members are deeply appreciative of Mr. Kitt's efforts...

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Acrobat Reader documentDraft Magdalene Redress Act Proposal

Acrobat Reader documentResponse from Mr. Batt O'Keeffe, Minister for Education & Science


29 July 2009

Justice for Magdalenes committee calls on Government to provide redress for Magdalene survivors

Justice for Magdalenes welcomes the publication of the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, 2009: Implementation Plan, and we look forward to witnessing the immediate implementation of the ninety-nine measures outlined therein...

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06 July 2009

Justice for Magdalenes committee distributes draft language for a distinct redress scheme for survivors of Ireland's Magdalene laundries

The Justice for Magdalenes committee is urging politicians to issue an apology for the state's culpability and its failure to protect the legal rights of women who always remained citizens of the State in Ireland's Magdalene Laundries and also to introduce new legislation to provide redress for this marginalized population...

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