You are certainly not alone if you find yourself scratching your head following the Government’s disappointing response to the report addressing the plight of women incarcerated in the Magdalene laundries. It is not as if the Government were unaware of what the report might contain and, while all Governments are cautious in their duty to protect the state or taxpayer from exposure, there was no excuse for not planning the announcement of a pro-active roadmap in support of these women.
What is surprising is the Government’s apparent lack of preparedness – a mealy-mouthed sorry but no full apology and, crucially, no announcements of State support through provision of rehabilitation services and supports – medical, social and pension provision, counselling including redress.
Given the sensitivities involved, even the announcement of a clear roadmap in support of these women would have received a positive response. The failure to do so has exposed how ill-prepared Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his cabinet have been in handling this case.
The Magdalene women have waited a long, long time for this report but the Government’s response ensures that they must wait even longer. The word ‘heartless’ hangs in the air.