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Ombudsman’s Report Re Magdalene Laundries Restorative Justice Scheme
Coleman Legal LLP
Dec 11, 2017

Ombudsman’s Report Re Magdalene Laundries Restorative Justice Scheme

“These women have waited long enough for justice,”

The Ombudsman’s Report entitled “Opportunity Lost“, has now come out on the Ombudsman’s investigation into how the Department of Justice administered the Magdalene Laundries Redress Scheme.

The Ombudsman has dismissed objections made by the Department of Justice to an investigation into 27 complaints made by women who worked in Magdalen Laundries regarding the Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme.

The Ombudsman’s investigation was launched in December 2016 and was as a result of 27 complaints relating primarily to admission to the Scheme and the assessment of the duration of stay by the Department.

Many of these related to women who worked in one of the 12 laundries listed under the Scheme but were admitted and resident in training centres and/or industrial schools attached to the laundries. As they were not “directly admitted” to one of the 12 laundries, the department ruled these women were not entitled to redress.

The Ombudsman’s Report found that the Department chose to interpret this phrase in “the most narrow sense” and operated on the basis that only women who could demonstrate through available records that they had been officially recorded as admitted to one of the 12 named institutions were eligible.

The Ombudsman found that the Department of Justice operated the  Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme using criteria which was unknown to any of the women applying to be included in the Scheme.

Ombudsman's Report Re Magdalene Laundries Restorative Justice Scheme

Ombudsman and Information Commissioner, Mr Peter Tyndall









The Ombudsman, Peter Tyndall said that he was “hopeful” that the Department of Justice would act upon his recommendations that the women who were denied redress should have their applications reassessed with a view to approving them, in light of a statement from the Minister Charlie Flanagan.

Mr. Flanagan said that “full and careful consideration will now be given to all the recommendations in… (the) report”.

“The existence and use of the Magdalen laundries was a scandal. The restorative justice scheme created an opportunity to belatedly offer some redress to the women who lived and worked in the laundries. This opportunity was lost in respect of some of those women whose cases I considered. It is now time for the State in administering the scheme to reflect the generosity of spirit which characterised the official apology.”

Peter Tyndall stated in the foreword of the Report.


You can contact our team of experienced Abuse law solicitors who can discuss your case privately with you. 

Contact [email protected] or 01-5313800.


Irish Examiner 11.12.2017 – Finally righting a wrong in the fight for the women who worked in Magdalene laundries

The Journal 23.11.2017 – Objections by Department of Justice to Magdalen redress investigation ‘disingenuous’ – Ombudsman

Irish Times 25.08.2017 – ‘It was a hell hole’: Magdalene laundry survivors protest in Dublin

Keith Rolls Partner Coleman Legal LLP

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