Press Release

Minister for Justice and Minister of State for Primary and Social Care announce health services for women who worked in Magdalen Laundries to start on 1 July 2015

The Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald T.D., and the Minister of State for Primary and Social Care, Kathleen Lynch T.D., today announced the roll-out of health services for women who worked in Magdalen Laundries and two similar institutions.

The HSE will start to issue “RWRCI Cards” to women in June and eligibility for the health services will take effect on 1 July. In the meantime, the HSE will be directly contacting the women, who have accepted a formal offer made under the Restorative Justice Scheme.

A woman, who has accepted a formal offer made to her by the Minister for Justice and Equality under the Restorative Justice Scheme, will receive a Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions (RWRCI) card from the HSE, which identifies the holder as qualifying for a range of health services provided for in the Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Act 2015.

The HSE will make available, without charge, the following primary and community health services:
·    GP services;
·    prescribed drugs, medicines, aids and appliances;
·    dental, ophthalmic and aural services;
·    home nursing;
·    home support;
·    chiropody/podiatry;
·    physiotherapy;
·    counselling services.

The HSE will also provide further information directly to the qualifying women about the health benefits.

In announcing the introduction of the services, the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald stated:

“The Government has given its commitment to implementing all of the recommendations made by Mr. Justice Quirke in his report on the Magdalen Laundries. I am therefore very pleased to announce today the primary and community health services for women who worked in Magdalen Laundries and two similar institutions. The Government has already set up a range of payments and supports for the women who worked in these institutions. Payments of up to €100,000 are being made to these women, depending on their length of stay in the laundries. In addition, the Department of Social Protection is making pension type payments to these women.”

The Minister of State for Primary and Social Care, Kathleen Lynch added:

“I am very pleased to announce the start date of the 1st of July for the scheme of primary and community health services for women who worked in Magdalen Laundries. I hope that the clarity on the start date and the knowledge that their health cards will start to arrive in June will provide reassurance.  In addition, the ex-gratia payments received from the Minister for Justice and Equality will not be included in the assessment of means under the medical card scheme or the ‘Fair Deal’ scheme.”

Notes
The Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Act 2015 provides for the provision of specific primary and community health services by the HSE in Ireland. The Department and the HSE are examining the practical arrangements to be put in place for health services for women living abroad.

There is no need for individual women to apply to the HSE. The HSE will contact the relevant women directly. The Department of Justice and Equality will notify the HSE of the women who have accepted a formal offer made under the ex-gratia scheme.