One year on from Taoiseach apology NI Magdalene survivors still waiting to hear from Ministers

One year on from Taoiseach Enda Kenny's apology to Magdalene survivors in the Republic of Ireland, women in Northern Ireland are still waiting to hear from Ministers if there will be an inquiry into abuse in institutions there.

Amnesty International has called for the Northern Ireland Executive to support survivors' calls for an inquiry into decades of abuse suffered in Magdalene Laundry-type institutions in the region.

In May last year, Amnesty published research into abuses in Northern Ireland’s Magdalene Laundry-type institutions, and launched a campaign with victims for an investigation into the alleged abuse. However, despite bringing abuse victims to meet Ministers at Stormont Castle in June 2013 and repeated enquiries since, victims have still received no response from the Executive into calls for an investigation.

The UN Committee Against Torture and the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women both published reports in 2013 which recommended that the Northern Ireland Executive should establish an inquiry into abuses in Magdalene Laundry-type institutions.

Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, Patrick Corrigan, said:

“A year ago Enda Kenny apologised to Magdalene victims in the Republic of Ireland. Twelve months on, victims in Northern Ireland can't even get an answer from Ministers on whether there will be an inquiry.

“Women in Northern Ireland have told Amnesty of abuse they suffered in Magdalene Laundry-style homes here which may amount to arbitrary detention, forced labour, ill-treatment, the removal and forced adoption of their babies.

"There is no recourse within the remit of the Northern Ireland institutional abuse inquiry for cases of abuse which took place after the age of 18. A clear 'justice gap' has emerged for these women survivors, with no inquiry in place - north or south - into their suffering.

"The Northern Ireland Executive must consider a separate inquiry mechanism for these cases which could also lead to a state apology and reparation."

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