PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has warmly welcomed the Taoiseach's apology to the Magdalene survivors on behalf of the State.
Speaking in Paris this morning where he is on the final day of his official visit to France, President Higgins said, "I've read the statement of the Taoiseach and I think that it was very, very generous, not generous only but fulsome as it was required".
He added: "And I know the emotional strength with which it was delivered, and I'm even more pleased that those who were affected, the women were very pleased with it.They felt that it not just recognised a wrong but also recognised the necessity to respond to it. And also to acknowledge the participants in the wrong in a very fulsome way."
Yesterday evening in an emotional speech in the Dail, the Taoiseach said: "On behalf of the State, the government and our citizens, deeply regret and apologise unreservedly to all those women for the hurt that was done to them, and for any stigma they suffered as a result of the time they spent in a Magdalene laundry."
President Higgins also welcomed the decision by the government to offer financial support to the Magdalene women. "I think as well that the Taoiseach's statement, the announcement of practical steps to now consider the situation in which these women and particularly those families of the women who are no longer with us, will be considered," he said.
He added that he was pleased also that the government will include several residential laundries which had hitherto been excluded, such as the training Centre at Dublin's Stanhope Street. "I think it well to end the quibble as to the extension to those institutions who may not have been originally covered".
He added, "I think everybody will have been pleased with the statement, but what was most important was that the women themselves were very satisfied and were generous in their acknowledgement of what the Taoiseach had done on behalf of all the people of Ireland".