A report into the role of the Irish state in the operation of the network of Magdalen laundries run by four religious orders for destitute women and girls has found state bodies were responsible for referring more than a quarter of all admissions to them.
Former residents have described working in conditions of near slavery in the laundries, which served hotel chains and even the armed forces. Responding to the report, which was published on Tuesday by an interdepartmental committee chaired by Senator Martin McAleese, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the state must now provide support for the 800 -1,000 survivors but he stopped short of a full apology.
Of the cases in which routes of entry are known, 2,124 or 26.5 per cent were referrals made by or facilitated by the state. Of the other 8,025 admissions, 10 per cent were sent by the women's families, 16.4 per cent were women who went themselves out of poverty, and 8.8 per cent were referred by priests. Most stayed for less than a year.
Above: Enda Kenny. Photo: CNS/Eric Vidal, Reuters