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Magdalene victims set to meet nuns in new forum

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Justice for Magdalene campaigners Kathleen Jeanette and Joan Farrelly

Justice for Magdalene campaigners Kathleen Jeanette and Joan Farrelly

Justice for Magdalene campaigners Kathleen Jeanette and Joan Farrelly

A RECONCILIATION forum between survivors of the Magdalene laundries and the religious orders that ran them has been recommended.

A retired High Court judge has recommended a package of measures including mediation and reconciliation.

In February, Mr Justice John Quirke was asked by the Government to report back within three months on proposals to set up a non-adversarial scheme to compensate the women.

Judge Quirke delivered his report to the Justice Minister Alan Shatter last month.

Mr Quirke has proposed setting up a reconciliation forum where the women and former nuns who ran the laundries could opt to meet and discuss their shared experiences.

He is believed to have placed considerable emphasis on mediation as part of a dispute resolution mechanism within the proposed ex-gratia scheme.

The reconciliation process would be confidential.

According to the latest figures, there have been more than 700 expressions of interest in the Magdalene fund.

Earlier this year a report produced by an inter-departmental committee, which was chaired by former Senator Martin McAleese, showed that around 10,000 women and girls entered Magdalene Laundries between 1922 and the mid 1990s.

In February this year, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny apologised unreservedly on behalf of the State to the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries.

In the Dail, he apologised to the women for the hurt they endured in the laundries and for any stigma they suffered as a result of their time there.

He said that he wanted to put a process in place to help and support the women in their remaining years, and said that Mr Quirke would undertake a review to assess how the Government can provide payments.

fdillon@herald.ie


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