NORTHERN Ireland Magdalene victims feel in danger of being left behind, Amnesty International has said.
In the Republic a report was prepared by Senator Martin McAleese about the extent of abuse carried out against women at Magdalene institutions in the south.
Now Northern Ireland programme director of Amnesty International Patrick Corrigan has written to Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Ministers to raise allegations of abuse suffered in Magdalene laundry institutions in the Province.
The historic institutional abuse inquiry in Northern Ireland only covers abuse suffered by children in residential institutions, while the McAleese Report only covers Magdalene laundries in the Republic.
“Magdalene laundries operated in Northern Ireland into the 1980s. I have spoken with women survivors of these institutions who now fear being left behind, with no inquiry in place – north or south – into their suffering,” he said.
“It is clear that any new inquiry announced by the Irish government will only investigate abuses in the Republic, while the historic institutional abuse inquiry in Northern Ireland will only investigate abuse suffered by children, rather than by the many grown women who were held in Magdalene laundries.
“That is why I have written to the First and Deputy First Minister to draw attention to this ‘justice gap’ and to ask them to consider how best to address the plight of this group of victims.
“The First Minister and Deputy First Minister responded with compassion and action when they heard the cry for justice of child abuse victims in Northern Ireland institutions. We hope that they will respond similarly to the calls from women who suffered as adults.”
Most of the Magdalene institutions in Northern Ireland were run by nuns, although one on the Donegall Pass in Belfast was operated by the Church of Ireland.
It is not known if women suffered abuse there.