As part of the blognival ‘Thoughts on a New Ireland’, HRinI is pleased to publish this post by Katherine O’Donnell, Director of Women’s Studies, (UCD School of Social Justice) and member of the Advisory Committee of Justice for Magdalenes.
Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) www.magdalenelaundries.com has been focused on providing evidence of the Irish State’s collusion in the punitive, recarceal, for-profit-enterprises known as the Magdalene Laundries which were operated at ten locations by four Catholic religious orders – the last one closed in 1996. JFM has been circulating a draft ‘restorative justice and redress scheme’ for the women and girls who were incarcerated in the Magdalene Laundry system.
We propose that, following an apology by the State, a dedicated unit within the Department of Justice is established with the remit of facilitating surviving women and their families to access all state social services to which they are entitled and to operating as an ‘inter-departmental’ hub in further facilitating other State services and expertise. We are currently working on the detail of a compensation scheme, for lost wages, pension contributions and personal damage, the funding of which is envisaged will be provided by the Religious Congregations. In coming to terms with the complexities we have become avid students of the wide variety of truth commissions and redress schemes which everywhere have to navigate the gap between best Human Rights practice such as that enshrined in the 2005 UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law etc. and individuals’ rights to privacy, family life and a good name.