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.
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 5 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Bangkok Bomb: Thai police name Adem Karadag as suspect arrested over blast that killed 20
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...