267. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention was drawn to problems by persons in his Department which were highlighted to them by the Ombudsman regarding the terms, application and operation of the Magdalene restorative justice scheme prior to the commencement of the Ombudsman's report, Opportunity Lost. [5843/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): On 15 September 2017, the Ombudsman submitted a draft of his investigative report into the administration of the scheme by my Department. On 13 October 2017, the Department issued its observations on the draft, which raised a number of factual, legal and practical issues in relation to the Ombudsman's analysis of the operation of the scheme. These issues were particularly relevant in relation to his principal draft recommendation that persons in other institutions - Industrial Schools for example - on the sites of the 12 named institutions covered by the Magdalen Scheme who worked in the laundries there should be covered by the scheme. The Department's response, which is at Appendix 1 of the published Report, was brought to my attention subsequent to its submission to the Ombudsman. On 23 November 2017 the Ombudsman's Report, which he titled 'Opportunity Lost', was published.
As I have stated before, full and careful consideration is being given to the recommendations in the Ombudsman's Report. In relation to his principal recommendation as outlined above, it will be necessary to carry out a full assessment of its administrative, resource and legal implications. A basic issue to be addressed is an estimation of the numbers involved. This will require an input from other Government Departments, for example from the Department of Education and Skills in terms of the numbers of residents in Industrial Schools who would have worked in the laundries in the Magdalen Institutions.