Following the 18-month inquiry, the committee published its report on 5 February 2013, finding "significant" state collusion in the admission of thousands of women into the institutions. The report found over 11,000 women had entered laundries since 1922. Significant levels of verbal abuse to women inside was reported but there were no suggestions of regular physical or sexual abuse. Elderly survivors said they would go on hunger strike over the failure of successive Irish governments to set up a financial redress scheme for the thousands of women enslaved there. Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, while professing sorrow at the abuses revealed, did not issue an immediate apology, prompting criticism from other members of Dáil Éireann. Kenny promised "there would be a full Dáil debate on the report in two weeks time when people had an opportunity to read the report". Survivors were critical that an apology had not been immediately forthcoming.
On 19 February 2013, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny issued a formal state apology. He described the laundries as "the nation's shame" and said,
"Therefore, I, as Taoiseach, on behalf of the State, the government and our citizens deeply regret and apologise unreservedly to all those women for the hurt that was done to them, and for any stigma they suffered, as a result of the time they spent in a Magdalene Laundry."
The Taoiseach also outlined part of the compensation package to be offered to victims of the Magdalene Laundries. He stated:
"That's why the Government has today asked the President of the Law Reform Commission Judge John Quirke to undertake a three month review and to make recommendations as to the criteria that should be applied in assessing the help that the government can provide in the areas of payments and other supports, including medical card, psychological and counselling services and other welfare needs."
President to host reception for former Magdalene Laundries residents
Updated / Wednesday, 25 Apr 2018 17:36
President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins are to host a reception this summer for up to 800 women who spent time in Magdalene Laundries.
The gathering is scheduled for 5 June, at the opening of a two-day gathering which will give many Magdalene women their first opportunity to, as the organisers put it, "speak freely to other women incarcerated in the laundries".
The event at Dublin's Mansion House is being organised by Dublin Honours Magdalenes (DHM), a voluntary group which has joined the entrepreneur Norah Casey to honour the women.