43. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications in respect of an award under the terms of the addendum to the Magdalen restorative justice ex gratia scheme; the number of persons granted an award; the number of persons awaiting a decision in respect of their application; the reason therefor; the number of persons considered ineligible for an award; the reason therefor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12001/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Government is committed to complying with all of the recommendations of the Ombudsman in relation to the operation of Magdalen Restorative Justice Ex Gratia Scheme. My officials have been in ongoing contact with the Ombudsman’s Office as we go about implementing his recommendations.
In relation to the Ombudsman's principal recommendation that the Scheme should be applied to women who worked in the laundry of one of the 12 'Magdalen' Institutions and who were resident in one of 14 adjoining institutions, the Addendum to the terms of the scheme giving effect to this recommendation is published on the Department's website - www.justice.ie.
To date there have been 97 applications under the terms of this Addendum. These comprise 52 applications refused under the original scheme and who may now be eligible, and a further 45 new applications.
Of these 97 applications, 22 are completed as follows:
- 7 awards have been made.
- 4 offers are under consideration by successful applicants.
- 1 applicant has withdrawn from the scheme.
- 1 applicant who previously received an award under the Scheme has been informed that she is not eligible to a further payment under the terms of the Addendum.
- On the basis of information supplied, 9 applications are not considered eligible for the scheme. The applicants have been given an opportunity to provide further information to support an application under the scheme.
Of the remaining 75 applications, 60 are being processed and 15 have not yet completed relevant forms and reminders have issued. In respect of the 60 applications being processed, 51 have outstanding queries with religious institutions, other bodies or with the applicants themselves. Overall, 11 applicants have been called for interview.
The process of making a provisional assessment as to whether an applicant comes within the scope of the scheme is made based on the records of the institutions concerned (where these are available) and any other relevant records or statements. This may include the applicant's testimony and in some cases testimony from other persons.
Where it is necessary to interview an applicant the process is solely for her benefit. Its purpose is to facilitate a fair assessment of her claim where there is insufficient or conflicting documentation available. Each application is assessed individually on its merits and a decision is made as to whether on the balance of probabilities the applicant comes within the scope of the scheme. As the Deputy will appreciate the steps in the process can vary depending on the circumstances of each individual case.
In both the case of a provisional assessment offer being made or the applicant being informed that they are not eligible under the scheme, a review process is available to the applicant and details of this are provided to each applicant.
Finally, I am anxious that all applications are dealt with as quickly as possible.