Magdalene Laundry Women Blameless

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny didn’t hold anything back, including tears, as in the presence of some twenty women, latter previously incarcerated in the Magdalene Laundries, watched silently with hands held, from the Dáil Éireann public gallery.

I, as Taoiseach, on behalf of the State, the Government and our citizens deeply regret and apologise unreservedly to all those women, for the hurt that was done to them, and for any stigma they suffered as a result of the time they spent in a Magdalene Laundry,” stated Mr Kenny.

The Law Reform Commission Judge John Quirke has now been appointed to undertake a three-month review and make his recommendations regarding compensation, on behalf of these surviving women, which will incorporate supports, including  Psychological and Counselling services, Medical Cards, and such other ‘Welfare Needs,’ as is deemed appropriate.

This recommended compensation will have no impact on the women’s current social welfare payments and tax liabilities, & surviving resident outside the Irish State will also receive compensation. Judge John Quirke will ensure that payments made to those living in the UK will also not lose out on any current entitlements or benefits.

A national memorial will also be commissioned, in consultation with the Magdalene Laundry victims & the Irish State.

This apology follows the investigation & publication of a report from former senator Martin McAleese, same which revealed that the State was responsible for 24% of all admissions to these laundries, where girls as young as 11 years old were forced to work without any remuneration.

This inquiry found that some 10,000 women were incarcerated in these laundries, run by nuns from four religious orders, for reasons which included plain poverty, petty crime, some mental disabilities and pregnancy outside of wedlock.

The last surviving Magdalene Laundry, situated at Sean MacDermott Street in Dublin’s north inner city, did not close finally, to Ireland’s shame, until 1996.

To view the full Magdalene Laundry Inter-Departmental Committee Report, click HERE.


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