Amnesty raises Northern Ireland Magdalene Laundry cases with ministers
Amnesty International has written to Northern Ireland's First and Deputy First Ministers to raise allegations of abuse suffered in Magdalene Laundry institutions within the jurisdiction. Later today, the Dáil will debate a report showing state involvement in the operation of ten Magdalene Laundries in the Republic of Ireland, but Amnesty has warned that women who experienced abuse in such institutions in Northern Ireland risk being excluded from inquiries on both sides of the border. The Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland only covers abuse suffered by Children's rights in residential institutions, while the McAleese Report only covers Magdalene Laundries in the Republic of Ireland. Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said: "Magdalene Laundries operated in Northern Ireland into the 1980s. I have spoken with women survivors of these institutions who now fear being left behind, with no inquiry in place - north or south - into their suffering. "It is clear that any new inquiry announced by the Irish Government will only investigate abuses in the Republic of Ireland, while the Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland will only investigate abuse suffered by Children's rights, rather than by the many grown women who were held in Magdalene Laundries. "That is why I have written to the First and deputy First Minister to draw attention to this 'justice gap' and to ask them to consider how best to address the plight of this group of victims. "The First Minister and deputy First Minister responded with compassion and action when they heard the cry for justice of child abuse victims in Northern Ireland institutions. We hope that they will respond similarly to the calls from women who suffered as adults." The state is responsible for human rights violations where its authorities were directly complicit in any arbitrary detention and mistreatment of women and Children's rights in the Magdalene Laundries or similar institutions. It is also culpable for human rights abuses committed by non-state bodies while exercising a public function, and/or where the state had failed to exercise due diligence in the prevention or investigation of human rights abuses. Amnesty International has called for the Irish Government to establish an independent investigation into abuse allegations in the Republic of Ireland and to make an apology and reparations to the women affected.