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Sinn Féin calls for support for Magdalenes motion at tonight's Dublin City Council

13 June, 2011

Sinn Féin’s South West Inner City councillor Críona Ní Dhálaigh has called on councillors from all sides to support tonight’s motion supporting a statutory inquiry into the abuses suffered by tens of thousands of women held in the Magdalene laundries.

Cllr Ní Dhálaigh said:

“Tens of thousands of women and girls were placed in Magdalene laundries in Dublin and across the state. They were treated as prisoners, worked like slaves and subjected to horrifying levels of physical and psychological abuse. These were so-called fallen women, held against their will and dehumanised by the people in charge of these institutions.

“Justice for the Magdalenes is campaigning for justice for these women, for an apology from the State, for reparations and to ensure those responsible for what happened behind the walls of the laundries across the state are held accountable.

“Last week the United Nations Committee Against Torture expressed its grave concern at the failure by the Irish state to protect the girls and women involuntarily confined in the Magdalene laundries.

“The position of the previous government was that the laundries were privately owned and operated and this was the argument used for excluding the laundries from the terms of the Residential Institutions Redress Board.

“But the UN Committee against Torture heard that the courts regularly sent women and girls to the laundries as an alternative to jail and others were transferred into them from industrial schools, which were the absolute responsibility of the state. The Gardaí were also responsible for capturing and returning women to these institutions, if they managed to escape.

“The State cannot duck its responsibility. It must end the long history of failing the survivors and victims of the Magdalene laundries and the Government must issue an immediate formal apology and launch a statutory inquiry into the abuses.

“I hope the motion will receive the support of all councillors tonight and that we can send a unanimous message of support for the thousands of women condemned to the Magdalene laundries in Dublin and across the state and for the campaign of Justice for the Magdalenes.”

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