Irish PM: Magdalene laundries product of harsh Ireland
5 February 2013 Last updated at 18:51 GMT
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has apologised for the stigma and conditions suffered by women who were inmates of the Magdalene laundries.
Mr Kenny said the laundries had operated in a "harsh and uncompromising Ireland," but he stopped short of a formal apology from the government.
About 10,000 women passed through the laundries in the Irish Republic between 1922 and 1996, a report has revealed.
Chris Buckler reports.