The Catholic Church has been accused of taking a ‘deny ‘till they die’ attitude to the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries.
A support group for those abused by nuns in the laundries has also claimed that the Church is giving them the ‘classic run-around’ and ignoring their letters.
Archbishop Martin told RTE that he is ‘sympathetic’ to the Magdalene women’s case.
“The church has addressed such issues from the past and there is no reason why we can’t address this one,” said the Archbishop.
Prof Smith told the Times that he had written to the four congregations involved in running the laundries - the Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Charity, Good Shepherd Sisters, and Sisters of Our Lady of Charity – when he had previously written to the Archbishop.
“Finally, last June, I heard directly from the Good Shepherd Sisters and the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity and they informed me that they didn’t feel there was ‘anything to talk about’ and that they would not meet with JFM,” revealed Prof Smith.
He has also been informed, by letter, that the Conference of Religious of Ireland are not prepared to meet with the JFM group, referring them instead to the four religious congregations.
“JFM very much feels that the Catholic Church in Ireland, and especially the four religious congregations, are engaged in giving JFM, with all due respect, a classic run-around - the church is pursuing a ‘deny ‘til they die’ policy,” added the Professor.
“JFM is doing precisely what Archbishop Martin asked other survivors of institutional abuse to do, we are speaking out, seeking the truth.”
A spokeswoman for Archbishop Martin told the Irish Times that Prof Smith had been in touch and would get a response ‘in due course’.