Wednesday 22 November 2017

Kenny expected to make thorough Magdalene apology

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny is expected to issue a more thorough apology to Magdalene Laundries survivors, but will resist pressure to do so next week, senior government sources say.

Both Mr Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore will meet groups of survivors next week, and Fianna Fail has tabled a Dail motion calling on Mr Kenny to apologise.

The motion will be debated in the Dail next Tuesday and Wednesday. However, the Government is expected to hold its own Dail debate on the issue at a later date, and this is seen as the likeliest platform for Mr Kenny to apologise.

Survivors groups also say the purpose of their meeting with the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste is to persuade Mr Kenny to apologise on behalf of the State.

A senior coalition source last night said: "I have no doubt the Taoiseach will apologise, but he will not apologise on a Fianna Fail motion."


However, it is understood any apology will have to be carefully worded, since Dr Martin McAleese's report found only a quarter of women were sent to the laundries by state institutions, and some spent just a few days in the laundries.

Mr Kenny has already said the Government will need at least two weeks to consider Dr McAleese's report.

The Government will also be anxious to ensure the apology does not open the State up to widespread compensation actions.

Katherine O'Donnell of the Justice for Magdalenes advocacy group said an expectation Mr Kenny would apologise the week after the meeting was not good enough.

"Why not now?" she asked. "We want an apology that says the State did wrong by you but in the absence of that I'm not sure many would want a meeting."

Steven O'Riordan of Magdalene Survivors Together said the apology must include women from the Stanhope Street and Summerhill centres in Dublin, which were not included in Dr McAleese's report because they were classified as training centres by the religious orders.

Irish Independent

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