Victims of the Magdalene Laundries finally receive a full apology

01 Mar 2013

The Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, has formally apologised on behalf of the State for its role in the Magdalene Laundries.

Raymond Hill of Monckton Chambers has been acting pro bono for the survivors of Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries, seeking an apology and redress from the Irish State for its failure to prevent four Religious Orders from incarcerating thousands of women and girls in the Laundries and subjecting them to wholly unpaid forced labour. The victims were completely deprived of their liberty, prevented from contacting the outside world, subjected to both physical and emotional abuse, forced to work for long hours in harsh working conditions, with the minimum in terms of food, clothing and medical attention. Even decades on from their release, many of the survivors continue to suffer from their treatment.

The apology follows the findings The McAleese Report, which was published last month.  The report headed by Irish senator Martin McAleese found that the State and the Irish police force bore a major responsibility for sending the women there and failing to protect their rights.

The Irish government has approached the Law Reform Commission’s president, Judge John Quirke, to carry out a three-month review to recommend the criteria for providing support and payments to the survivors.

Raymond has given hundreds of hours of his time over the last 15 months advising the advocacy group “Justice for Magdalenes” on the preparation of evidence to put before the McAleese Committee – and he drafted the main part of their submissions to the Committee. As a result, a number of Irish organisations nominated Raymond for the Bar Pro Bono Award 2012.

This case has been the subject of a lot of press coverage, including the following articles:

BBC News