Plan for State to acquire last Magdalene Laundry for memorial on hold after survivors raise objections

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A plan to acquire the last Magdalene Laundry as a permanent reminder of the suffering experience by residents is on hold after survivors complained it would be another Dublin-centric move, when most victims were hidden away down the country, it is understood.

he laundry targeted for possible compulsory purchase order is on Sean MacDermott Street, with the Taoiseach telling the Dáil last year that the State was committed to acquiring a suitable site to memorialise what happened.

But outline discussions with survivors, which saw the proposal of the last laundry as an interpretive centre, ran into unexpected objections.

A departmental source confirmed that officials are going back to the drawing board on the matter, and although the commitment remains, full buy-in from all stakeholders is considered essential.

It is two decades since a permanent memorial was promised after the religious and residential institution abuse was first made the subject of revelatory reports.

One effort to establish just such a landmark at the rear of the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square came to grief a couple of years ago.

The Taoiseach has envisaged a centre that could also allow for research while housing and commemorating individual stories, much like the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial in Israel.

The Government is expected this week to reiterate its determination to achieve a suitable location for permanent acknowledgement and atonement of the abuse that took place.

Publication of the 4,000-page report into the Mother and Baby Homes was said to be imminent last September, but was delayed by the furore over the alleged 30-year retention of records by a new Bill.

Announcing the decision to further delay the report to this week, Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman said six weeks ago that the Government did not want to provide such a large revelation in December with a possible lack of support services over Christmas for those affected.

He and the Taoiseach are to host a webinar for survivors before an expected press conference on the findings tomorrow.

Survivors will also be provided with their own copy of the report ahead of a planned Dáil debate on its findings, including the fact that 9,000 individuals died, or one in seven.

The final report of the commission was delivered to the minister on October 30 last, but became caught up in a damaging row over the retention and alleged sealing for 30 years of Mother and Baby Home records.

Meanwhile Mr O’Gorman has expressed concern over a planning application to build on a part of land occupied by the former Bessborough Mother and Baby Home in Cork, amid fears that some burials could be obliterated as a result.

Counselling services will be available “to those who feel they needed additional support immediately”, the Minister has said, with available capacity “primed to respond to the anticipated increased demand when the report is published and in the weeks following”.

Mr O’Gorman has also said he will be bringing forward the Institutional Burials Bill, to allow for exhumations at Tuam and related DNA investigations, both of which have been delayed.

A remedial package is expected to go to Cabinet on Tuesday, and then be referred to the joint Oireachtas Committee on Children for pre-legislative scrutiny.

Online Editors

Source: Irish News