Consultation on proposals for Public Inquiry and Redress Scheme launched

A consultation on proposals for a public inquiry into Mother and Baby Institutions, Magdalene Laundries and Workhouses and an associated redress scheme has been launched today.

Included in the proposals is an early standardised payment of £10,000 for those eligible, with further individually assessed payments being made available following the work of the inquiry.

First Minister Michelle O’Neill said:

“Victims and survivors had waited far too long to have access to the truth, redress and accountability for the suffering they endured. The consultation is key to the establishment of the public inquiry and redress scheme and, we are determined to progress this as quickly as possible. I hope that this initial payment for those who are eligible will bring some reassurance that we are committed to driving this forward.

“We are very aware that there are a number of complex issues to be resolved and we have tried to be as sensitive as possible to victims and survivors’ concerns. We recognise that these issues are very personal to them and support is available throughout the process.  It is important now for us to see, listen and hear from those affected  in order to inform the decisions we take with our Executive colleagues.”

Deputy First Minster Emma Little-Pengelly said:

“The public consultation aims to gather a wide range of views. These views will help shape the legislation necessary to set up the Inquiry to establish answers to the three core questions of; what happened, why it happened; and who was responsible.

“We are also very aware that victims and survivors who have been through so much have waited for too many years for access to financial redress. That is why we have included an initial £10,000 standardised payment for those eligible within this proposal. A further individually assessed payment, which takes into account individual experiences to reflect severity, duration and impact will also be available  at a later stage following the work of the inquiry.”

The inquiry and redress public consultation builds on important work to date which includes the appointment of a 10 person Independent Panel in April 2023 and their recently published Interim Report. In addition, since last year, 3,000 private records held by institutions have been secured; guidance to help individuals access their personal records has been produced and over 300 people have accessed dedicated and comprehensive support services for victims and survivors.

The consultation document is available here:

Notes to editors: 

  1. Included in the consultation’s proposals are: –
  • A public inquiry with all the necessary powers to compel the production of evidence and to hold people accountable.
  • Flexibility to take into account the recommendations of the Independent Panel, which commenced its investigative work in April 2023;
  • Combined Inquiry and Redress legislation to facilitate early payment of redress, scheduled to be introduced to the Assembly this year.
  • A Standardised Payment of £10,000 to all those admitted to Mother and Baby Institutions and Magdalene Laundries or those children (now adults) born while their mother was there.
    • People can apply who were admitted for not less than 24 hours in a named institution or born to a mother who was admitted.
    • There will be a simple application process for the Standardised Payment and support and assistance will be available to all applicants.
    • An award will not count towards any assessment for means-tested benefits, Legal Aid or residential care home costs.
    • Nor will a Standardised Payment impact the claimant’s ability to seek further compensation.
  1. 1Applications can be prioritised on the basis of age and ill health.
  2. There will be further publicity after the general election to bring the consultation to the attention of those victims and survivors who live elsewhere on or outside these islands, including to North America, Australia and Europe.
  3. Support services will be available to victims and survivors throughout the process to provide counselling, if needed, and ensure they have a full opportunity to share their views.