....Prof James Smith, of JFM and Boston College, said he was pleased the bishops “seemed to take on board that time is of the essence in bringing restorative justice to this elderly and ageing population. We also underscored that the church’s archives hold the key to detailing the extent of the State’s involvement in the Magdalene system.”

Dr Katherine O’Donnell of UCD’s school of social justice said: “The meeting was particularly productive in identifying that the ethical release of the church’s archives could result in speedy and beneficial actions.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice said it would explore the possibility of a State apology to Magdalene survivors.

....The State was “relying on the fact that an elderly and ageing group . . . will not be in any position to pursue justice through the courts,” Claire McGettrick of JFM said.

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