Enda Kenny
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Magdalene laundries: Enda Kenny delivers state apology

19 February 2013 Last updated at 19:53 GMT

The Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach), Enda Kenny, has formally apologised on behalf of the state for its role in the Magdalene laundries.

Some 10,000 women and girls were made to do unpaid manual labour in laundries run by Roman Catholic nuns in Ireland between 1922 and 1996.

Mr Kenny apologised to all the women affected and said a memorial would be erected "to remind us all of this dark part of our history".

His speech received a standing ovation from members of the Irish parliament, who then directed their applause towards a group of Magdalene survivors who had gathered in the gallery.