The four religious congregations that ran the Magdalene Laundries have announced they will not contribute to the compensation fund for victims.
The Mercy Sisters, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Sisters of Charity and the Good Shepherd Sisters have informed Minister for Justice Alan Shatter in recent days that they will not pay into the fund, the Irish Times reports.
However the religious orders said they were willing to cooperate fully with other recommendations made by Mr Justice John Quirke.
In his recent report Quirke recommended that the Irish government pay at least €34.5 million ($45 million) in restitution to laundry survivors.
A spokesperson for Shatter said he was ‘disappointed’ with the decision of the religious orders.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has called on the four religious orders to “reflect” on their refusal to pay into the. redress scheme.
“I cannot force them to, because the scheme was not designed on that basis,” he said.
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said it was “absolutely unacceptable.”
“The bottom line is these four religious orders, and the State, were responsible for the effective wrongful incarceration of girls and women who were forced to work for no pay within a brutal regime.
“Agreeing to merely hand over records and look after elderly residents who gave their lives to the laundries falls far short of what is expected by way of a contribution from the religious orders,” the Sinn Fein Deputy added.
Meanwhile controversial Catholic League president Bill Donohue has argued that the laundries were a myth.
“[T]here was no holocaust, and there was no gulag,” he writes in a special report titled “Myths of the Magdalene Laundries.”
“No one was murdered. No one was imprisoned, nor forced against her will to stay. There was no slave labor. Not a single woman was sexually abused by a nun. Not one. It’s all a lie.”
Donohue agreed that the working conditions in the laundries were “harsh,” and that they included “standing for long hours, constantly washing laundry in cold water, and using heavy irons for many hours.”
However he doesn’t believe that qualifies as slave labor.
“Drudgery? Yes,” he writes. “But if this is ‘torture,’ then it is safe to say that millions have suffered this fate without ever knowing they did.”
Four congregations say they are willing to assist in all other aspects of recommended package
The four religious congregations that ran the Magdalene laundries have told the Government they will not make any financial contribution to the multimillion-euro fund set up to recompense former residents.
The Mercy Sisters, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Sisters of Charity and the Good Shepherd Sisters have informed Minister for Justice Alan Shatter in recent days that they will not pay into the fund, which could cost up to €58 million.
However, it is understood they have said they are willing to assist fully in all other aspects of the package recommended by Mr Justice John Quirke in his recent report, including the assembly of records and looking after former residents who remain in their care.
A spokeswoman for Mr Shatter said he was “disappointed” with the decision of the four orders not to make a financial contribution.
He will brief his ministerial colleagues about the situation at the weekly Cabinet meeting this morning.
Three of the four orders contacted through a spokesman were not prepared to make any comment at this point in time.
The Government announced the scheme last month after Mr Justice Quirke had conducted an examination of the various options to compensate the women who lived in the laundries, many of whom are now elderly.
The minimum payment was €11,500 for women who spent three months or less in a laundry and the maximum approved was €100,000 for those who were residents for 10 years or more.
Groups representing the women argued that higher awards should have been made available to those who had been long-term residents.
There was no onus on any applicant to show they had suffered hardship, injury or abuse. Some 600 women are reckoned to be eligible. The scheme is expected to cost between €34.5 million and €58 million.
When the scheme was announced, Mr Shatter said taxpayers expected the four religious orders to share the burden and make a contribution to the scheme. He would not be drawn on the amount he expected them to contribute.
The scheme follows on from a full apology on behalf of the State made to the survivors by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil this year, in which he said that nobody should have been subjected to the conditions they endured.
That apology came in the wake an investigation by former senator Martin McAleese into the running and conditions within the laundries which were in operation for the best part of a century.
The report also established that the State had played a significant role in the continued operation of the laundries.
Judge Colm Mac Eochaidh said he was “compelled” to reject the request, made by the US embassy in Dublin on Friday, because it did not state where Snowden’s alleged offences were committed.
“The question of where the offence took place is not a minor detail but is a matter which could have very serious consequences in any further stage that might be reached in an extradition process,” the judge wrote.
Snowden began his third week in limbo at a Moscow airport on Monday, hoping to reach an asylum deal so he can escape charges in the US for leaking explosive details about a massive electronic surveillance program.
Snowden, 30, has applied for asylum in 27 countries including Ireland, which said it could not consider the request unless it was made on Irish soil.
Irish justice minister Alan Shatter said US authorities were welcome to reapply for an arrest warrant stating where Snowden committed his alleged crimes.
“The determination of the court does not in any way prevent a fresh application being made for a provisional arrest warrant,” he said.
“The Irish and US authorities have remained in close contact about this matter and, for its part, the government will take any action open to it to ensure that the state’s obligations in relation to extradition arrangements are met.”
The High Court judgment said US authorities did not made clear in the request whether they believed Snowden leaked the information to journalists from US territory, or after he fled.
But when one notes that;
(A) The gardai wanted to test him for drink-driving so they must have formed a suspiction about him.
(C) He obviously invoked Dail privilege, there was no reason for him to mention where he was coming from otherwise.
I’d say on the balance of probabilities it looks like Shatter was in breach of the law on that day and weaselled out of it. Though we can’t know this for certain.
I’d hope that those who pounced on the ‘hypocrisy’ of Ming and Wallace will be as zealous about exposing the contradictions of Shatter’s stance.
For one thing his humbuggery about being so keen to stick the boot into political opponents because he wants to protect the good name of the Gardai rings a bit hollow given that (A) he dropped the Commissioner into the shit to save his own face and (B) his love obviously isn’t requited given that they’ve just dropped him into it.
He’s a petty little bully who wouldn’t be tolerated in office anywhere else. But let’s watch Gilmore and the Labour Party suck it up as they show their unlimited capacity to endure humiliation.
“…Shell funded alcohol was allegedly distributed to the Police, a gift not conducive to the well-being, safety and demeanor of police officers. The booze was allegedly delivered to senior on duty officers, with delivery being made at Police premises in one instance.”: “Some of the wording on the purported invoice seems strangely reminiscent of the prohibition era in the USA. Somebody trying to conceal the illicit transportation of alcohol.”
EMAIL DATED 15 April 2013 FROM JOHN DONOVAN TO LINDA SZYMANSKI, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC CHIEF ETHICS AND COMPLIANCE OFFICER.
Dear Linda Szymanski
I sent emails to you on 28 March 2013 and 29 March 2013 (also copied to Michiel Brandjes) concerning allegations made by a former Shell supplier OSSL, that Shell E&P Ireland has engaged in widespread corruption of the Irish Police force. According to OSSL and the related purported invoice dated 28 August 2012, Shell funded alcohol was allegedly distributed to the Police, a gift not conducive to the well-being, safety and demeanor of police officers. The booze was allegedly delivered to senior on duty officers, with delivery being made at Police premises in one instance.
Some of the wording on the purported invoice seems strangely reminiscent of the prohibition era in the USA. Somebody trying to conceal the illicit transportation of alcohol.
I first notified Mr Brandjes of these allegations on 10 September 2012 (also copied to Brian Foley at Shell E&P Ireland).
I sent a related email on 18 September 2012 to Julia Busby, head of Shell Legal, Shell E&P Ireland (also copied to Michiel Brandjes and Royal Dutch Shell PLC Chief Executive Peter Voser).
On 11 November 2012, I sent an email to Michiel Brandjes headed: ” SHELL ALCOHOL FOR CORRIB POLICEMEN”
I have also published and supplied to Shell, numerous related emails allegedly sent to Shell by OSSL.
Neither you or any of your colleagues have replied to any of my emails on this subject.
Mr Brandjes did send me a copy of an email he sent to former Shell official Mr. Bill Campbell on another matter (the screw-up in the Arctic).
But this subject remains absolutely taboo.
The same deafening silence seems to apply to police officers identified on the purported invoice dated 28 August 2012.
No accusations that the invoice is not authentic and the allegations false. No threats of litigation. No denials. Nothing.
When the stakes are so high – an alleged corruption scandal involving hundreds of Irish police officers – how long can that situation hold?
It is alleged by OSSL that there are other beneficiaries of Shell’s generosity.
How will it reflect on you Linda, bearing in mind your job title, if you fail to act?
PS. As you are probably aware, I have brought this matter to the attention of the Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter TD. I did at least receive the courtesy of an acknowledgement.
COMMENT POSTED ON SHELL BLOG BY “GEORGE HAMILTON”
Police alcohol . John you will hear no denials because the details you have are exactly correct the garda locally and nationally are disgusted by Shells handling of this matter they feel for the people caught in the middle but can’t afford to speak
COMMENT FROM A SHELL RELATED SOURCE
I don’t have any particular knowledge in the area, but it would seem to me that the UK Bribery Act, and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Dodd-Frank amendment (FCPA) would apply to the Irish saga.
In both cases there are channels through which whistle blower reports can be submitted. In the case of the FCPA the rewards for whistleblowers are very large.
There is a five year statute of limitations: perhaps Shell is relying on this to save them?
“OSSL management seems to be so disgusted by Shell management that they appear set on a self-destruct mission. The two main possibilities appear to be that they are either responsible for manufacturing forged documents as part of an attempt to put pressure on Shell, or have been drawn by Shell into a corruption conspiracy/scheme operated in Ireland on an industrial scale.”
JOHN DONOVAN EMAIL TO PRIVATE SECRETARY OF IRISH JUSTICE MINISTER, MR ALAN SHATTER
From: John Donovan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Alleged Corruption of Irish Police Force
Date: 6 April 2013 16:38:12 GMT+01:00
To: INFO <email@example.com>
Dear Mr Brennan
I do apologise for sending this further email but OSSL contacted me again this morning. As a result I have supplied three additional items of purported evidence that I have not seen before, that should be brought to the attention of Mr. Alan Shatter, the Minister for Justice and Equality.
1. A copy of a purported testimonial letter about OSSL dated 8 August 2012 purportedly from Mr. Michiel Crothers, Managing Director of Shell E&P Ireland Limited.
2. A copy of a purported letter marked “Strictly Private & Confidential” dated 28 February 2011 from The OSSL Company to Garda Superintendent Mr. John Gilligan. The author was purportedly Mr. Desmond Kane. The letter, if authentic, discussed the purchase and delivery of festive gifts to the Garda and claims that the gifts were purchased by OSSL on behalf of Shell E&P Ireland. According to the purported letter: “At Shell’s insistence these gifts came with a high degree of confidentiality, which we have adhered to until this very day.”
3. A purported letter dated 5 May 2011 to Mr. Kane at The OSSL Company from Superintendent John Gilligan, which may be in response to the above OSSL letter.
I pointed out yesterday that although the allegations appear to be outlandish (and may be unfounded), Shell has a track record of giving improper gifts, including alcohol, to federal employees. I supplied the relevant official investigation report by The Office of The inspector General of the US Department of the Interior.
I now recall other corruption scandals involving Royal Dutch Shell.
The first is, in one respect, even closer in nature to the current allegations, in so far as Shell using a sub-contractor to bribe government officials of a host country – in this example, Nigeria.
Shell to pay $48m Nigerian bribe fine: Daily Telegraph 4 November 2010
These companies, including Shell, admitted they “approved of or condoned the payment of bribes on their behalf in Nigeria and falsely recorded the bribe payments made on their behalf as legitimate business expenses in their corporate books, records and accounts”.
SHELL IN BRIBERY FINE: Daily Express 6 November 2010
Shell must pay a $30million “criminal penalty” over charges it paid $2million to a sub-contractor “with the knowledge that some or all of the money” would be used to bribe Nigerian officials to allow equipment into the country without paying duty. Shell, which has not admitted guilt, must pay a further $18million to repay profits and interests.
U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission Cease and Desist Order: Shell Corruption in Nigeria
Royal Dutch Shell fulfilled a money-laundering role in the Al-Yamamah “oil for arm” corruption scandal that was being investigated by the UK Serious Fraud Office until Prime Minister Tony Blair stepped in and terminated the investigation on spurious grounds of national security.
Executive Intelligence Review: Scandal of the Century Rocks British Crown and the City: June 22, 2007
The al-Yamamah deal: The Guardian: 7 June 2007
BAE lands arms deal for a new generation: The Telegraph: 19 August 2006
BAE rejects calls for fresh Saudi investigation: The Telegraph 3 February 2013
Shell’s involvement in the cited corruption scandals obviously does not mean that it is guilty of the allegations made by OSSL.
It does however mean that Shell has prior form.
The new alleged evidence can be viewed here (See Below)
OSSL management seems to be so disgusted by Shell management that they appear set on a self-destruct mission. The two main possibilities appear to be that they are either responsible for manufacturing forged documents as part of an attempt to put pressure on Shell, or have been drawn by Shell into a corruption conspiracy/scheme operated in Ireland on an industrial scale.
Shell’s partners in the Corrib Gas Project must be concerned that the lead partner, Shell, has allowed this matter to drag on.
Labour TD, Eamonn Maloney, said he did not accept the finding in the report on the laundries by Martin McAleese that they did not make money from the free labour of women and girls who worked in them.
“They did make money, they made lots of money,” he said during Dáil statements on the report, adding that most commercial laundries in the 1940s and 1950s closed because of competition from the Magdalenes.
“Not only has the church as yet to apologise for their role in operating these prisons, they do also have a role — because they made money — in compensating people,” he said.
The Dublin South West TD added that politicians must not be afraid to “stand up and say this”.
The Government has so far refused to say what contribution, if any, it will seek from the orders.
Last Friday, Ms Lynch said the question of what would be considered a fair contribution was “debatable” and she did not want to go into it at this early stage.
“The mistake that was made with the industrial schools was that the deal was done in advance of knowing what the final cost would be,” she said.
“That was a major flaw in that process. And we don’t intend to make those same mistakes again.”
Fine Gael TD Joe O’Reilly there was “no avoiding the fact that the religious orders will have to make a contribution to the final fund”.
During last night’s Dáil statements, he said that in many cases, the orders involved have to pay for nursing home fees and the expensive care of their elderly demographic, and that should be taken into account.
“But where there are assets and where there is a capacity to pay, it would be cathartic and it would be part of a recovery process for the religious orders — and a very practical identification with the survivors if they made a financial contribution,” said Mr O’Reilly.
The Cavan-Monaghan TD said it was “not sufficient that they make no input into it”.
The four congregations which were referred to in the McAleese report on the laundries are the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity; the Sisters of Charity, which had assets of €33m in 2009; the Sisters of Mercy, which has a portfolio of assets of €1.8bn; and the Good Shepherd Sisters which, in 2009, had €16.8m worth of financial assets.
via Clerical Whispers.
via Clerical Whispers.
ALMOST 7,000 PEOPLE have been sent to prison so far this year for not paying fines, new figures have shown.
A total of 6,969 people had been committed to prison by the end of November for the offence, according to figures released by the Minister for Justice.
The figures are a minor increase on last year.
However the numbers confirm that there has been a dramatic surge in the last three years in the number of people being jailed for not paying fines.
There has been a 176 per cent increase in the number of people jailed for the offence since 2008, when 2,520 people were sent to jail for not paying fines.
Liam Herrick, the head of the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) which campaigns for reform of Irish penal policy, said that imprisoning people for non-payment was “redundant” and “wasteful”.
“At a time of scant resources, the redundant exercise of imprisoning people for non-payment of fines is extremely costly and wasteful in terms of Courts, Gardaí and prison resources,” said the IPRT Executive Director.
More importantly individuals are being committed to our overcrowded prisons in cases where judges have already determined that prison sentences are not appropriate.
On 30 November, 20 prisoners – 0.5 per cent of the total prison population – were in jail for not paying fines, Minister Shatter told the Dáil.
He also said that he intended to start a number of provisions contained in the Fines Act 2010 in the new year, such as allowing people to pay fines by instalments and substituting community service orders for fines.
“I expect that these measures, taken together, will all but eliminate the need to commit persons to prison for non-payment of fines,” Minister Shatter said.
However the failure to fully implement the Fines Act, some 18 months after it became law, was criticised by Liam Herrick:
“The failure to follow up at administrative level to allow for the payment of fines by installment means that thousands continue to be jailed for non-payment of fines 18 months after the legislation was signed into law,” said Herrick.
The figures also showed that the number of people jailed for not paying back debt has increased dramatically.
29 people were jailed for non-payment of civil debt up until the end of November this year – compared to just 5 people for the whole of last year.
The figures came from the Annual Reports of the Irish Prison Service.
The numbers going to jail over in relation to unpaid TV licence fines is higher than ever.
Some 194 people were sent to prison last year for non-payment of TV licence fines, compared to 31 in 2006 at the height of the boom.
The majority of those sent to jail were women, the Irish Prison Service confirmed. Females accounted for 121 of those sent down, while the remaining 73 were men.
Figures show that 25 people a day are now being sent to prison for not paying court fines.
A spokeswoman also expressed concern that women, the primary carer for children, make up the biggest number of those imprisoned for failing to pay fines related to TV licences.
“It is over two years since the Fines Act 2010 was signed into law and the Courts ICT system still hasn’t received the upgrade necessary to process payment of fines by instalment,” the IPRT said.
New legislation on this would be of little effect “unless this system is put in place with urgency.”
Figures show that 4,470 people were imprisoned for non-payment of fines and debts in the first six months of the year, compared to 7,514 in 2011. This compares with 1,335 just five years ago in 2007.
It urged that the minimum of €100 for eligibility for payment of a fine by instalment be removed.
The trust also said it had reservations about the admin charge of up to 10pc to be imposed on those who opt to pay by instalment.
The IPRT recently called on Justice Minister Alan Shatter to consider making use of the right of pardon and and the power to commute or remit punishment – with one suggestion an amnesty for some or all fines defaulters to ease pressure on strained prison resources.
The fact that more women are being imprisoned for failure to pay fines was of “serious concern,” it said.
Out of 1,680 women committed to prison last year, 1,300 were for non payment of court ordered fines.
Last year, 16,000 court summonses for not having a TV licence were processed in the first nine months of 2011. About 7,000 cases ended up in court.
Schools should be allowed to decide on the right balance between their religious ethos and the rights of staff despite plans to give legal protection to gay or divorced teachers, a Catholic schools leader has said.
Changes were proposed this year to employment law that allow schools, hospitals, and other religious-owned employers discriminate on certain grounds to protect their ethos. Unions representing staff the organisations had been lobbying for such changes.
A Department of Justice spokesperson told the Irish Examiner that arrangements are being made to set up the new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission as soon as possible and they will be asked to undertake an examination of the issue as a priority task.
However, in an article for the Jesuit journal ‘Studies’, the head of the group representing religious orders and the bishops on education issues says much of the criticism of section 37 of the Employment Equality Act is caused by misinterpretation of its intentions.
The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, has warned cabinet colleagues and government TDs not to speak out against government policies or to air coalition disagreements in public.
“It is important, in order to achieve our objectives in the national interest, that not only members of Cabinet but also members of the Fine Gael and Labour parliamentary parties exercise their considered judgement when addressing issues,” said Shatter, speaking at the John F Kennedy summer school in Wexford.