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Give the laundry girls their compo


Give the laundry girls their compo

Rights watchdog: State acted wrongfully

SURVIVORS of the Magdalene Laundries should get compensation including unpaid wages, pensions and rehab, a watchdog has insisted.

In yesterday’s follow-up report to Martin McAleese’s laundries probe, the Irish Human Rights Commission said the State failed to protect women and girls sent to the institutions.

And IHRC commissioner Professor Siobhan Mullally said the McAleese inquiry fell short of drawing conclusions on the State’s obligations.

She added: “The State acted wrongfully in failing to protect these women by not putting in place adequate mechanisms to prevent such violations, and by failing to respond to their allegations over a protracted period.”

Prof Mullally said compensation must now match the human rights violations and their ongoing impact.She called for lost wages, pensions and social welfare benefits to be taken into account — as well as rehabilitation supports such as housing, education, health, welfare and help to deal with the psychological scars. Sinead Lucey, senior inquiry and legal officer of the IHRC, said women were subjected to a form of forced labour — and that the State profited from this.She said: “Not only did successive Irish governments not outlaw and suppress such practices, as they were required to do, but the State itself availed and benefited from such forced or compulsory labour when it entered into commercial contracts with the laundries on the basis of being the cheapest.

“But the crucial factor here was the workers were unpaid.

“The State must never be complacent in the way it treats those at risk of discrimination.”