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Priest: religious orders should compensate Magdalene women

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Peadar Grogan
15:25 Wednesday 17 July 2013
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Catholic priest says any available finance should be used for compensation

A Catholic priest says that the religious orders involved in running the Magdalene laundries should make any funds that they can available to the redress scheme.


Father Paddy Byrne, a curate in Portlaoise, was speaking about the decision by religious orders not to contribute on today’s Newstalk Lunchtime.


He said it was difficult to understand why they had taken the decision. “I think, bottom line, we should be listening to the religious orders on a programme like this today giving their rationale.”


Women held in the Magdalene laundries will be entitled to payments of between €11,500 and €100,000 depending on the length of their stay. The scheme could cost up to €58 million.


The four orders who ran the laundries; The Mercy Sisters, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Sisters of Charity and the Good Shepherd Sisters, recently announced that they would not contribute.


Father Byrne described the decision as a “poor effort”. “Any finance that they have available should be made to partly share the responsibility of the redress.”


He said that the state was responsible for sending women to the laundries and that both the religious orders and the state should share the burden echoing comments from Tánaiste Éamonn Gilmore that the orders should contribute.


“There’s a collective responsibility, as named by the Tánaiste today, and the state surely has a responsibility as well, a fundamental responsibility, to redress citizens who were working on behalf of the state in terms of these laundries.”


Father Byrne spoke to John Keogh - standing in for Jonathan Healy this week - about the issue.


Peadar Grogan

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