Irish PM's emotional apology for state's role in Magdalene laundries
The Irish prime minister has issued a formal apology on behalf of the Irish state to the survivors of workhouses known as the Magdalene laundries.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny broke down yesterday as he made an emotionally charged speech in which he described the Catholic-run workhouses as the "nation's shame," and conceded that the state was directly involved.
"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," Mr Kenny said.
"We forgot you or, if we thought of you at all, we did so in untrue and offensive stereotypes. This is a national shame, for which I again say, I am deeply sorry and offer my full and heartfelt apologies."
At least 10,000 women were housed in the laundries over a 70-year period for reasons from petty crime to poverty, disability or pregnancy outside marriage. Ten laundries operated in the Irish Republic between 1922 and 1996, with a quarter of the 10,000 inmates placed there by the state. The youngest person was aged 9 and the oldest 89.
The apology comes two weeks after an official report painted a harrowing picture of the exploitation suffered by Irishwomen and girls in the laundries.
The report found they were given poor food, often became infested with lice and fleas and forced to do "harsh and physically demanding work" which was both compulsory and unpaid.
Survivor Ms Maureen Sullivan said the Taoiseach's apology removed the stigma attached to all those detained in the Magdalene laundries, who were often considered "fallen women".
"I'm proud now of the leader of our country. I can say that for the first time," she added.
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Royal baby: Live updates as the wait continues for Duchess of Cambridge's second child
Hermann Goering's daughter fails to reclaim items looted by Nazi deputy during WWII
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...