independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Girls were sent to laundry for not having train ticket

WOMEN were sent to Magdalene Laundries for petty crimes, such as failing to buy a train ticket and snatching purses. Others were detained for more serious crimes, such as prostitution, manslaughter, murder and killing babies they had recently given birth to.

One woman who was convicted of stealing a bike and attempting suicide was detained for a year, according to the report.

The vast majority of those who entered laundries through the criminal-justice system were put there on foot of minor crimes.

The most common entry method for girls admitted to laundries was on foot of probation orders requiring them to be resident for up to three years.

The report reveals that "runaways, vagrants" and "stranded" girls and women were also referred informally or on an ad hoc basis to Magdalene Laundries by gardai where they stayed for short periods.

Many women were placed informally in laundries by gardai or the courts without any specific legal basis or under practices that predated the establishment of the State.

Gardai

Girls and young women referred or sent via the criminal justice system accounted for an estimated 8.1pc of known routes of entry.

Girls and young women who had previously been in industrial or reformatory schools could also be "recalled" and arrested without warrant by the gardai and placed in laundries.

Referrals from industrial and reformatory schools make up a total of 622 cases, or 7.8pc of known entries.

The report reveals the dependency of the State on the church and other bodies who provided voluntary services.

The State approached organisations such as the Legion of Mary to ask them to perform the role of Voluntary Probation Officers (VPOs) before the country established a professional probation service in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Irish Independent

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