Europe

Magdalene laundries: Women confident of state apology

Women from the Magdalene Survivors Together group have said they are confident they will receive an apology from the prime minister (taoiseach) of the Irish Republic.

The laundries were Catholic-run workhouses that operated in Ireland and where girls and women had to do unpaid, manual labour.

Many were sent there by the state.

The women were speaking after a meeting with both Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his deputy Eamon Gilmore.

They said they had received a very compassionate response from both men.

They said that they had not been not looking for a private apology but a public apology on behalf of the state when the Irish parliament (Dáil) debates a report into the laundries next week.

Mr Gilmore said the meeting was taking place because the government believed the women's story and wanted to do as much as possible to help them.

The Dáil will this week debate a Fianna Fáil motion calling for a full and unqualified apology to the women of the Magdalene laundries.

The party is also calling for the establishment of a dedicated unit within the Department of Justice to co-ordinate the State's response to the McAleese report, including all forms of redress for the survivors.