Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said an apology to those who suffered abuse in Magdalene Laundries emphasises the need to restore devolution, implement the Hart Inquiry recommendations, and deliver an inquiry into the mother and baby homes.
Ms Bradshaw was speaking after Irish President Michael D Higgins apologised to thousands of women who were forced to do labour at the Catholic Church-run workhouses. Survivors at a reception included those who emigrated to Great Britain, the USA and Australia. A report in 2013 found the Irish state was directly involved in their confinement.
“It was emotional to see women in Dublin saying nothing less than they now felt they were human beings,” said the South Belfast MLA.
“There remain people in Northern Ireland who feel their humanity was taken from them in childhood. We now have recommendations from the Hart Inquiry which would mean so much to so many people, and we are bound to deliver the same for those who grew up in mother and baby homes.
“Yet those in Dublin also noted it was too late for many people, who have died in the interim. We cannot allow it to be too late here. This Presidential apology should prick the consciences of those who are delaying restoration of devolution or failing to act to bring it about.
“The time for inaction is over.”