Magdalene Laundries survivor awarded compensation for six years of unpaid labour

The Department of Justice is to award a reported €76,000 in compensation to a survivor of the Magdalene Laundries who was forced to work in one institution without pay for nearly six years in the 1950s.

Mary Cavner, originally from Cork, was sent to the Good Shepherd Convent in the county aged 11 following the death of her father, and remained there until the age of 17. Her work involved caring for the babies in the laundry, cleaning and cooking for the nuns – and often did not finish until 10pm at night.

Ms Cavner, now living in England, originally applied for compensation under the Magdalen Restorative Justice Ex-Gratia Scheme (established in 2013), but was informed that, according to records, she had not worked at one of the laundries covered by the Scheme and so was ineligible for compensation.

In November 2017, the Irish Ombudsman published a report on the operation of the Scheme in which, amongst other things, it was recommended that the Scheme should be extended to any woman who “worked in one of the listed laundries but was officially recorded as having been ‘admitted to’ a training centre or industrial school located in the same building, attached to or located on the grounds of one of the laundries”. Following this extension, which the Irish government finally put into effect in November 2018, Ms Cavner re-applied for compensation and was subsequently given an award under the extended Scheme in May 2019.



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