As Minister I am committed to honouring the commitments of then Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the Magdalen women in 2013 and the scheme introduced for women who were admitted to and worked in the 12 named institutions.
The Department of Justice and Equality was entrusted with overall responsibility for implementation of this scheme. I have been assured that the scheme has been operated with compassion and dedication by a team of officials in the Department. It is administered in such a way as to be as un-intrusive as possible and to minimise the input required by eligible applicants.
The terms of the scheme recommended by Justice Quirke included the payment of “lump” sums from €11,500 to €100,000, special access to health care, upgrading of pension entitlements to the full State Pension for those who had reached retirement age and payment of a weekly sum of € 100 inclusive of other State payments to others.
To date €25.7m has been paid out to 684 women under the Scheme which remains open.
The Ombudsman has made a number of recommendations regarding the operation of the scheme. The Department cooperated fully with the Ombudsman in his review of the scheme. Full and careful consideration will now be given to all the recommendations in his report.