36,000 euro payout for Magdalene Laundries survivors

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Survivors of Magdalene Laundries are getting an average compensation pay-out of almost 36,000 euro (£29,000), Irish Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has revealed.

Before a United National human rights watchdog, Ms Fitzgerald said 12.4 million euro (£9.9m) has been paid so far to 346 women who were incarcerated in the institutions.

Although some have sought a review of the amount of compensation offered to them under the publicly-funded scheme, the minister suggested it was working well.

“Women are coming to the redress scheme, are using it and payments are being made,” she said.

“There are some issues for some of the women, obviously, in terms of records and documentary evidence which can be very difficult.

“We obviously want to be as flexible and supportive as we can in terms of getting that information.”

The redress scheme is expected to cost the taxpayer up to 58 million euro (£46m).

Payments range from 11,500 euro (£9,200) for women who were kept less than three months in the Catholic church-run workhouses, up to a maximum of 100,000 euro (£80,000 for survivors incarcerated for more than a decade.

The four congregations who ran them - Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, Mercy Sisters, Sisters of Charity and Good Shepherd Sisters - have refused to contribute to the compensation fund.

Ms Fitzgerald is being questioned over two days by the UN Human Right Committee in Geneva about Ireland’s human rights standards.

Asked about the State response to the Magadelene Laundries scandal, she said legislation should be passed later this year introducing medical care for survivors.

The Minister added that work is ongoing on the setting up of a State inquiry into mother and baby homes.

Around 10,000 women passed through Magdalene Laundries between 1922 and 1996.