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Irish Catholic 'workhouse' survivors awarded $45m compensation

Government apologizes for its role in Magdalene Laundries

Irish Catholic 'workhouse' survivors awarded $45m compensation

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

BBC News
Ireland

June 28, 2013

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The Irish government is to pay survivors of Magdalene laundries at least 35m euros ($45m, £30m).

The laundries were Catholic-run workhouses where thousands of women and girls had to do unpaid, manual labour.

Payments will range from 11,500 euros (£9,000) for women who spent three months or less in a laundry, to a maximum of 100,000 euros (£85,000) for ten years or more.

Payment is not dependent on proof of hardship, injury or abuse.

Around 600 survivors are to receive forms by post to enable them to apply for redress.

Relatives of the deceased are not covered by the scheme, unless they had registered an expression of interest before 19 February 2013.

The package is based on recommendations by Mr Justice John Quirke, who was asked by the cabinet to devise eligibility criteria.

Mr Justice Quirke was asked for proposals to set up a scheme to compensate women and bring "healing".

The former residents of the laundries will also receive a range of supports, including an enhanced medical card and pension.

• Originally termed Magdalene Asylums the first in Ireland was opened in Dublin in 1765, for Protestant girls

• First Catholic home was founded in Cork in 1809

• Envisaged as short-term refuges for 'fallen women' they became long-term institutions and penitents were required to work, mostly in laundries on the premises

• They extended to take in unmarried mothers, women with learning difficulties and girls who had been abused

• Between 1922 and 1996 there were 10 such laundries in the Republic of Ireland

• The women toiled behind locked doors unable to leave after being admitted and while the laundries were paid, they received no wages

• The last Magdalene asylum in Ireland, in Waterford, closed in 1996

• The congregations that ran them were the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, the Religious Sisters of Charity and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

See also: Magdalene Laundries: Survivor stories

Full Story: Magdalene laundries support scheme unveiled 

Source: BBC News

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