Women of Irish laundries may be compensated

November 22, 2010

The Irish government has asked the country’s attorney general to consider a report by the Irish Human Rights Commission that calls for compensating women and girls held in the so-called Magdalene laundries run by 10 religious orders.

Former inmates of the laundries, also known as Magdalene asylums, presented their case to the commission because they were not entitled to the same compensation given to former residents of Church-managed orphanages and youth facilities despite often suffering the same hardship and neglect highlighted in the Ryan Report published in 2009.

The report exposed decades of child abuse and neglect in Church-run residential institutions.

The laundries housed young women and girls who had become pregnant outside of marriage.

Most were placed in them by their families.

The laundries also were used to detain girls accused of petty crimes.

The laundries operated in independent Ireland from the 1920s until 1996.