Chambers welcomes public inquiry into Magdalene Laundries

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Chambers welcomes public inquiry into Magdalene Laundries

Ulster Unionist Party Health Spokesperson, Alan Chambers MLA, has warmly welcomed the announcement in the Assembly today by the Executive Office of their intention to launch a public consultation on proposals to establish a statutory Public Inquiry and a Financial Redress Scheme for those affected by Mother and Baby Institutions, Magdalene Laundries, Workhouses and their pathways and practices. The consultation is due to be launched this week.

Mr. Chambers commented,

“In March 2022 I brought forward a Private Members Bill, the Preservation of Documents Act. The Assembly was informed today by the First and deputy First Ministers that this valuable legislation had facilitated the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) to engage with Institutions and to begin the process of accessing, preserving, digitising and cataloguing approximately 4,500 private records, with over 3000 items being deposited already.

“Without my Bill being passed, these documents would have in all probability been destroyed or dumped. The material saved will undoubtedly assist the work of a future Public Inquiry.”

Speaking during the Assembly debate on the public consultation launch, MLA Chambers made the following comments.

“I am delighted that my private member's bill, Preservation of Documents Bill, passed in March 2022, is making a significant contribution to initial investigations into this terrible blot on our past. However, no such legislation exists in the Republic of Ireland and records are being lost. Will the Executive Office lobby the Government in Dublin to close this gap and to ensure that any salvaged records are available to the inquiry? Compensation to affected individuals has been correctly mentioned. Will the funding for this come from the public purse or from the organisations involved in this stain on the care of what were some of the most vulnerable people in our community?”

“I was grateful for the acknowledgement of the deputy First Minister of how valuable my Bill has proved in investigating this dreadful and long-running injustice. Many people are still carrying the scars of this sad and unacceptable failure to provide thoughtful and sensitive care that brought disgrace to all the organisations involved.”