Opinion Editorial

Thursday 14 November 2019

Religious need more than slap on wrist over Magdalene redress

THE religious congregations who have refused to pay into the redress scheme for Magdalene Laundry survivors got a ticking off from Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday. On Tuesday, Justice Minister Alan Shatter displayed his displeasure too. Both were mild and anaemic in their criticism. The Taoiseach was particularly circumspect, suggesting that the four orders should 'reflect' on their refusal to pay into the scheme.

The Justice Minister did a bit of gentle arm-twisting by pointing out the moral onus on the orders to compensate victims.

We accept that the Government cannot employ any legal instrument to force a change of heart.

Nor can it remove the charitable status enjoyed by these institutions, as was demanded by a Magdalene survivor group earlier this week.

But both the Taoiseach and his Justice Minister should have offered more than a gentle slap on the wrist.

There is genuine anger and resentment among survivors, and the general public, over the terse and unsympathetic response from the nuns. This should have been reflected in any government intervention.

That is not to say that the orders don't have a case of their own to put, but so far we haven't heard it.

Their silence might well be meant as a dignified one, but it will be interpreted by many as indifference.

The most important issue is that the Magdalene survivors be swiftly and decently compensated.

This latest development can but hinder this process.

Irish Independent

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