Magdalene Laundry

The Star: ‘Canada should apologize for Magdalene laundries, like Ireland, academic says’

Former workers in Magdalene laundries in several countries, including Canada, say they endured abuse and enforced, silent labour for little to no pay.

Some say they were physically and sexually abused, and told over and over again that they were worthless sinners.

Now, a researcher in Newfoundland says Canada should acknowledge its use of the secretive institutions for which Ireland apologized in 2013.

“An apology would be phenomenal,” said associate professor of sociology Rie Croll. She’s writing a book that includes little known Canadian allegations of slave labour and abuse in the now defunct reformatories.

“In Canada, this seems to be perceived as a problem that existed elsewhere,” said Croll, who teaches at Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Grenfell Campus.

“There’s more awareness in Australia and there’s a growing awareness in the U.S.”

Click here to read the full article.



Magdalene Laundry

The Western Star: ‘Survivors of Magdalene Laundries deserve peace after years of suffering’

It’s often gut-wrenching, but Dr. Rie Croll says there’s a sense of “urgency” in her research aimed at collecting stories of women forcibly confined in female-only laundries and reformatories before “they are forever lost to history.”

Her current research brings together stories of women from Ireland, Canada and Australia who spent time in institutions known as Magdalene Laundries. Many of these facilities were run by various orders of Roman Catholic nuns. The laundries operated from as early as the 18th Century before the last one closed in Dublin, Ireland 20 years ago.

“While the stated purpose of these institutions was the reform of prostitutes, unwed mothers, and ‘incorrigible’ girls, the stories I’ve gathered tell us that the inmate population contained countless unwanted, stolen, socially inconvenient, disregarded and/or neglected girls and women,” explained Dr. Croll, an associate professor and chair of Teaching and Learning at Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook.

“Confinement in the laundries — and related reformatories — essentially served to regulate and curtail the sexuality of generations of girls and women while the church exploited all of them as unpaid laundry labourers.”

Dr. Croll says many of the former inmates are still haunted by their experiences. She says silence was strictly enforced within the institutions and the women were forbidden to speak with one another or write to family members about their situations.

Click here to read the full article.



Magdalene Laundry

Irish Examiner: ‘€23m in redress paid to Magdalene Laundry Survivors’

Some 624 women held in Magdalene laundries have to date received a lump sum payment of more than €23m under a government redress scheme.

The payments work out at an average of €36,858.

According to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, some 807 applications have been received under the Magdalene Laundries Restorative Justice Ex-Gratia Scheme.

She said 103 applications were refused, as the women had not been admitted to one of the 12 specified institutions.

Click here to read the full article.

If you or someone you know was resident in a Magdalene Laundry in Ireland, please get in touch with IWSSN to find out more about this redress scheme. Call us on: 0207 267 9997 or email:


Magdalene Laundry

Irish Mirror: ‘Cllr Mannix Flynn demands former Magdalene laundry is preserved as a memorial’

A former Magdalene Laundry should be snapped up by the state and preserved as a memorial, Cllr Mannix Flynn has said.

The building in Donnybrook, Dublin is up for sale and expected to sell for up to €3 million.

It was formerly run by the Religious Sisters of Charity and was sold by the order in the late 1990s and then run as a private laundry until 2006.

The building, which dates back to the late 18th century, is mostly still intact and contains reminders of it’s dark history, including ledgers, old machinery, religious iconography and some of the dorms.

Independent Cllr Flynn is currently running a petition to have the building and its contents preserved as a memorial.

Click here to read the full article. To sign Mannix’s petition click here .


Independent.IE: ‘Flowers laid in memory of Ross laundry women’

The third annual Flowers for Magdalene’s memorial ceremony took place in St. Stephen’s Cemetery, New Ross, recently drawing people from across the region.

A large crowd gathered despite the inclement weather conditions to lay flowers in homage to women who died behind the walls of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Magdalene Laundry. With the demolition of St Aidan’s Industrial school, which formed part of the Good Shepherd campus in New Ross, in December 2015, the communal grave in St Stephen’s cemetery offers the only visual reminder of the Magdalene legacy in New Ross.

It is estimated that at least 1,663 former Magdalene women are buried in cemeteries across Ireland, many of them in unmarked graves.

Click here to read the full article.


Magdalene Laundry

The Irish Times: ‘Rite & Reason: Death of an inspirational Magdalene survivor’

At 14, her father left her at the Good Shepherd Magdalene Laundry in New Ross, Co Wexford. Barely a teenager, she worked for nearly five years cleaning society’s dirty laundry. She was denied her right to an education. She was punished for insolence and her hair forcibly cut.
She was sent at 19 to work in a Dublin hospital, also run by nuns. She fled to England. But London was not far enough away. She travelled to Boston, where she worked for most of her life. She never married.
Having rekindled her faith in the Catholic Church, she still demurred when the Good Shepherd congregation offered to meet her in 2010. She keenly felt the stigma attached to her past. She protected her family’s reputation at all cost.

Click here to read the full article.


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International Women’s Day: A Time to Recognise and Celebrate Irish Survivors of Institutional Care

IWSSN would like to wish our own clients and women across the world, Happy International Women’s Day.

We are proud  to be an organisations that has campaigned for justice and equality for Survivors of Irish institutional care, including those who were incarcerated in Magdalene laundries. We are also incredibly proud of Irish survivors of institutional care who’ve brought down every barrier they’ve been confronted with in their lives, who have fought to secure justice and have moved on their lives.

Irish Survivors are called ‘survivors’ for a reason. After all, whilst these individuals may have been victims of neglect, abuse and assault, they survived it, and deserve to be recognised for their resilience rather than what happened to them.

Find out more about Irish survivors and their impressive resilience here.




Magdalene Laundry

Derry Journal: ‘Magdalene Laundries inquiry move welcomed’

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA, Maeve McLaughlin, has welcomed a new working group to look into a possible inquiry around Magdalene Laundries and mother and baby homes in Northern Ireland.

The Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland were institutions run by the Catholic Church for decades with the knowledge of the State.

Ms McLaughlin said: “I welcome the agreement from the Executive to set up an interdepartmental working group led by the Department of Health to make recommendations on the scope of any proposed inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene laundries.

“The working group will bring its recommendations to the Executive within six months.”

Click here to read the full article.


Magdalene Laundry, Ireland

Irish Times: ‘Women take action over labour at Magdalene laundry’

Four women who claim they were used as forced labour in a Magdalene laundry have brought High Court proceedings challenging the refusal to admit them to the State’s compensation scheme for survivors. The Magdalene laundry compensation scheme was set up by the Government in 2013.

The basis for the women’s exclusion is that, while it is accepted that they had worked at St Mary’s Refuge Magdalene Laundry at High Park Convent, Drumcondra, Dublin, they were not actually admitted to that institution. Instead, they had been admitted to An Grianán Institution, located in the grounds of the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge, High Park, Grace Park Road, Drumcondra. An Grianán was deemed a separate and specific institution to the laundry.

The women claim that while they were residents at An Grianán they were forced to perform labour for no pay at the laundry every weekday.

Click here to read the full article.