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Report Says State Was Involved In Magdalene Laundries

MLAfter an 18 month investigation, and a few lengthy delays, a report into the Magdalene Asylums of Ireland has finally been released, and it concluded what most of those involved in the advocacy group ‘Justice For Magdalenes’ already suspected – the State was indeed involved in these industries. It had long been claiming that these were private industries, run by the Church and the Church alone – but the fact of reality is that the Catholic Church essentially was the State.

Senator McAleese’s report was released this afternoon. It concludes that while a majority of the 30,000 women were sent by their families to the infamous laundries, or taken by a priest, there were at least 2,500 women who were placed there by the State. ‘Justice For Magdalenes’ has welcomed the news, saying the State can no longer claim ignorance to the abuse behind the laundry doors.

According the report, lucrative contracts were given by the State to the ten Magdalene Laundries in operation across Ireland – although non of the women forced to labour against their will ever saw a penny of these contracts. Further investigation revealed that the laundries were in fact inspected from time to time, and the forced labour was either over looked or deemed acceptable.

After the report was revealed, Taoiseach Enda Kenny apologised for the length of time it had taken, and for the stigma attached to survivors, but he did not apologise directly for the State’s involvement. He added that he’d need to read the report in full before reacting to it. Meanwhile, the Irish branch of Amnesty International has called on the government to finalyl stand up and accept it’s role in human rights abuse.

Up to 30,000 women are believed to have passed through the doors of the laundries between 1922 and 1996. They were sent their for becoming pregnant out of wedlock, for being promiscuous, for having learning difficulties, or being ‘problematic’ girls. Many were sent there simply because their parents were deemed ‘unfit’. Once inside, they could not leave unless a family member claimed them. They were never paid for their work in the laundries, and a majority of girls who were there during their teenage years were not adequately educated. Several women were noted to have spent their entire lives in the laundries, as family members denounced them and never came back to claim them.

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  1. June 13th, 2013

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