[QODLink]
Europe

Irish PM says 'sorry' for laundries abuse

Statement follows release of report blaming state for sending girls to work like "slaves" at the Magdalene Laundries.
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2013 21:06

Ireland's prime minister has offered sympathy after an official report held the state responsible for sending many women and girls to the institutions collectively known as Magdalene Laundries, where they were subjected to a harsh regime of intimidation, prayer and unpaid work.

The workhouses, run by Catholic nuns, have been accused of treating inmates who were sometimes put in their care for sexual misdemeanours or simply for illegitimacy, like "slaves" for decades of the 20th century.

Tuesday's report analysing Magdalene Laundries found state authorities committed about one-quarter of 10,012 women to the workhouses from 1922 to 1996, often in response to school truancy or homelessness.

Irish governments had in the past insisted the laundries operated purely privately.

Following the release of the report, Enda Kenny, Irish prime minister, said: "To those residents who went through the Magdalene Laundries in a variety of ways, 26 percent of the time from state involvement, I am sorry for those people that they lived in that kind of environment."

The report by an inter-departmental committee said found that 15 percent lived in the workhouses for more than five years, and police caught and returned women who fled.

They endured 12-hour workdays of washing and ironing.

196

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.