Irish Government backs centre supporting Magdalene women

Irish Government backs centre supporting Magdalene women

OVER 400 female victims of institutional care in Ireland have been helped by a new Irish Government-funded centre set up in London in March.

The Whispering Hope Centre, a service run by the Irish Women Survivors Support Network (IWSSN), provides advice, support and companionship to thousands of survivors living in Britain.

This week the Irish Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald travelled to London to meet those who have used the service, including women who spent time in Ireland's Magdalene Laundries.

To date a total of 488 applicants to the Magdalene Scheme have received lump sums totalling €17.86m.

"106 of these are applicants who are residing in the UK and they have received their lump sums at a cost of € 3.3m," Minister Fitzgerald added.

As part of the 2012 Redress Board investigation into institutional care, the Department of Justice and Equality, under then-Minister Alan Shatter, allocated €250,000 in funding to IWSSN, who estimate they have helped over 5,000 Irish survivors based in Britain over the years.

The Whispering Hope Centre was set up by IWSSN earlier this year as further support to the survivor community here in Britain.

“We are very pleased with the recognition IWSSN has received by the Irish Government,” said Sally Mulready, chair of IWSSN.

“For setting up an organisation that came from, and is made up of, women who historically didn't have much power in society, but have ample commitment to other women and fighting for their just cause.”

She added: "Since The Whispering Hope Centre's inception in March 2014 we have helped around 400 survivors.”

The centre welcomed Minister Frances Fitzgerald, where she met with IWSNN clients who have benefitted from the service.

The reception was a formal recognition of the financial support the Department of Justice and Equality is providing to IWSSN to assist in their services.

In 2012, Taoiseach Enda Kenny met with a group of Magdalene Laundries survivors, whose story prompted him to pledge they would receive a full state apology and financial redress.