The report into the Magdalene laundries is expected to be published next Tuesday afternoon, February 5th.
It will be presented to the
Cabinet that morning.
The report has been prepared by a committee
of officials from five Government departments and chaired by Senator
Martin McAleese, assisted by another official from the Department of
The laundries, where an estimated 30,000 single
mothers and other women were detained between 1922 and 1996, were
operated by four religious congregations. Most of the women have since
The last such laundry, at Seán MacDermott Street in Dublin, closed
On June 14th, 2011, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter
announced that the Government was to set up the committee to investigate
the State’s role in the Magdalene laundries.
The previous week the four
religious congregations concerned had agreed to co-operate with any
The Minister’s announcement followed a lengthy
campaign by the Justice for Magdalenes group and a report from the
United Nations Committee Against Torture, published on June 6th, 2011.
urged the Government to set up a statutory inquiry into the Magdalene
laundries, to bring prosecutions where necessary and provide
compensation to surviving women.
It said it was gravely concerned
by the failure of the State to “protect girls and women who were
involuntarily confined between 1922 and 1996 in the Magdalene
In November 2010, the Irish Human Rights Commission
called on the Government to establish a statutory inquiry into the
treatment of the Magdalene women, echoing similar demands from the
Magdalene Survivors Together group.
The 10 laundries were operated
by the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the
Sisters of Charity and the Good Shepherd Sisters.
by the Sisters of Mercy were at Galway and Dún Laoghaire; by the Sisters
of Our Lady of Charity at Drumcondra and Seán MacDermott Street in
The Sisters of Charity operated laundries at Donnybrook, Dublin,
and Cork; and the Good Shepherd Sisters ran laundries at Limerick,
Cork, Waterford and New Ross.