McDonald: Homes inquiry should cover Magdalene Laundries

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou is backing calls for the Mother and Baby Home inquiry to include the Magdalene Laundries.

A full commission of inquiry is being set up, and will have the power to compel documents and witnesses.

It will include at least one institution outside Catholic control.

Speaking today Deputy McDonald said concerns expressed about a report on the issue carried out by Martin McAleese could be addressed in the new investigation.

"To understand the Mother and Baby homes you have to include the Magdalene Laundries," Deputy McDonald said.

"It makes no sense to have a thorough, statutory investigation into those institutions and to excluse the laundries.

"And I think that by including the laundries we can make up for the very substantial deficits that were present in the McAleese process."

However Minister for Children Charlie Flanagan has said he does not want the Mother and Baby Home inquiry to take 'years to report'.

Minister Flanagan said the Government is still working to define the inquiry's terms of reference.

"Already I've heard calls that it be extended to county homes, to laundries, whatever - I think it's important that we keep it in perspective," he said.

"The last thing we want is an unwieldy, unmanageable commission that takes years to report - and God knows we have seen that with tribunals of inquiry.

"We need strict parameters."

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