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Wednesday 21 February 2018

Demand for probe on Magdalene Laundries

Colm Kelpie and Fiach Kelly

THE Government was under mounting pressure last night to set up a statutory investigation into allegations of torture against women in Magdalene Laundries.

A support group for survivors has also demanded a state apology after an international torture watchdog recommended a statutory inquiry.

The Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) group said the State must follow through on the UN Committee against Torture's recommendations -- published yesterday -- that perpetrators be prosecuted and victims of the Catholic Church reformatory workhouses be given a right to compensation.

Human rights expert Maeve O'Rourke, who wrote JFM's submission to the committee, said she was hopeful the Government will honour its obligations to those who have suffered.

"Having suffered torture or ill-treatment, in which the State directly participated and which it knowingly failed to prevent, the women have the ongoing right to an investigation, an apology, redress and treatment with dignity," she said.

The Magdalene Laundries were operated by four Catholic religious orders: The Sisters of Mercy; The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity; The Sisters of Charity; and The Good Shepherd Sisters.

They were institutions for women who had a child out of wedlock. The last laundry, at Sean McDermott Street in Dublin, closed in 1996.

Irish Independent

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