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Dr Maeve O'Rourke @maeveorourke
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THREAD: This piece by @ococonuts reveals what appears to be yet more disturbing treatment of Magdalene survivors by the Department of Justice.

Women excluded from Magdalene laundries redress must provide ‘records’ of work…
This week the Department published an 'Addendum' to the Terms of the Magdalene scheme which finally sets up a process to compensate women who were forced to work in Magdalene Laundries as children -- while they should have been in school.…
In the Addendum, the Department states that the women must provide 'evidence' that they actually worked in the Magdalene Laundries, yet it fails to define what it means by 'evidence'. Going by the DOJ's previous practice, one must assume that they mean records.
In the Ombudsman's Nov 2017 report on the DOJ's previous 'maladministration' of the scheme, he found: 'There was an over reliance on the records of the congregations and it is not apparent what weight if any was afforded to the testimony of the women and/or their relatives.'
This week's Addendum (which is supposed to fix the problems the Ombudsman identified) says the women's applications must include 'Records from that institution and/or from the relevant Magdalen institution stating that you worked in the laundry and the period of time involved.'
Unbelievably, the Addendum adds: 'The calculation will be made on the basis that no child under 12 years of age worked in a Magdalen laundry, unless an applicant provides evidence of such work before she reached the age of 12 years.'
Now, I have never seen a single record of a return to the government pursuant to the factories legislation and regulations (stating children's ages and hours worked, etc) in the info the nuns have provided in response to personal data access requests by survivors.
This suggests that they did not keep - or do not still have - the records they were legally required to create under the Conditions of Employment (Records) Regulations 1947, sections 122 and 124 Factories Act 1955, and Factories (General Register) Regulations 1956.
It's not like we can find out from the government whether any such records were kept, because the Department of the Taoiseach refuses to release any of the contents of the McAleese archive from its possession -- the archive of all state records concerning the Magdalene Laundries
The Taoiseach's Dept recently refused an FOI request for the Index (yes...the Index) to the McAleese archive stating 'The records...are stored in this Department for the purposes of safe keeping...and are not held or within the control of the Dept for the purposes of the FOI Act'
This refusal was confirmed on appeal by a more senior member of staff, giving absolutely no reasons for his decision to confirm it.
Regarding the Department's statement in the addendum that it's presumed girls did not work in Magdalene Laundries under the age of 12: @maglaundries know numerous women who did, and the McAleese report acknowledges that girls as young as 9 were in Magdalene Laundries.
The Department's presumption that girls under 12 did not work in Magdalene Laundries must be based on 'evidence' coming from the nuns. It is imperative that that evidence be made publicly known, and at the very least put before the survivors for their comment.
Is the Department accepting the nuns' testimony as 'evidence'? In the Ombudsman's report he noted that DOJ 'Correspondence to the women is filled with phrases such as "the Sisters have confirmed...the Sisters have verified..."'
It is time for Magdalene survivors' testimony to be accepted as 'evidence', for once and for all. @CharlieFlanagan needs to confirm that this will be the case. It is a tragedy that women have been dragged through 5 1/2 years of further suffering since @EndaKennyTD's apology.
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