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In numbers: the report into the State’s role in the Magdalene Laundries

A selection of numerical statistics drawn from the Inter-Departmental report, and about the report itself.
Image: James Horan/Photocall Ireland
Feb 5 5:38 PM 11,742 Views 29 Comments

THE INTER-DEPARTMENTAL report into the State’s role in the operation of the Magdalene Laundries, and the human rights abuses that took place there, was formally published today.

Below are a selection of numerical statistics about its contents, and about the report itself.

601 – The number of days between the government’s decision to establish a an inter-departmental committee to report on the State’s role in the Laundries, and the date of publication of the final report.

39 – The total number of PDF files that make up the entirety of the report, which have a total aggregate file size of 100 megabytes. The total report, including appendices, stretches to well over 1,000 pages.

10 – The total number of Magdalene institutions included in the report’s terms of reference. The ten institutions were run by four religious orders. This does not include two other institutions – St Mary’s Stanhope Street and St Mary’s Summerhill – which were formally considered “training centres”, though they were Magdalene Laundries in all but name.

1,200 – The total overnight capacity of the ten facilities listed. High Park in Drumcondra had the highest capacity, at 250.

10,012 – The total number of women who were admitted to eight of the ten Laundries between 1922 and 1996, when the last Laundry closed. There were a total of 14,607 admissions to the eight laundries concerned, indicating that thousands of women were admitted to various laundries on multiple occasions.

6,582 – The total number of admissions, out of the 14,607, for which no route of entry or source of referral is known. This means that in 45 per cent of cases, there is no surviving documentation to indicate how they were referred to a laundry they ended up being admitted to.

2,124 – The total number of documented cases where someone was admitted to a Laundry as a result of a State referral. This included 82 admissions in 1943, the highest year on record.

23.8 years – The average age of a woman at the time she was admitted to a Magdalene Laundry. The median age was 20.

89 years – The age of the oldest woman recorded to have been admitted to a Laundry.

9 – The age of the youngest known woman to have been admitted.

2,188 - The total number of people who were admitted to a Magdalene Laundry who stayed there for less than three months in total. A total of 3,752 stayed in a Laundry for less than a year.

886 – The number of women who were resident in a Laundry for over five years. This includes 476 women who were resident in a Laundry for ten years or more. High Park had the longest average residency, at 256.8 weeks – just under five years.

69 – The total number of women admitted to a Laundry, whose entry documentation listed a husband as their next of kin. 9 listed a daughter as their next of kin.

879 – The number of women who are known to have died while in a Magdalene Laundry. This equates to about 8.78 per cent, or roughly two out of every 23 women who entered.

95 – The age of the oldest woman known to have died while resident in a Laundry, at the time of her death.

15 – The age of the youngest woman known to have died while living there.

213 - The number of residents who simply ran away from a Laundry.

815 - The minimum number of women who were admitted to a Laundry from 1970 onwards. The admissions include 8 in the 1990s, up until the time of the closure of the last Laundry in 1996.

351 – The number of women who were admitted to a laundry in 1941, the busiest year for admissions.

37 – The average number of women who were in custody in Irish prisons each day in 1984, compared to 1,557 men. The report finds evidence of a policy where admission to a Magdalene Laundry was seen as an alternative to imprisonment for female offenders. 647 women were admitted to Laundries through the Criminal Justice system.

€11,146.06 – The cost to the State of the work of the seven-member committee. This was through travel expenses and the cost of renting venues to meet with survivors; the seven members of the committee did not receive any payment or stipend for their work.

Read: Taoiseach stops short of apologising for Magdalene Laundries, angering survivors

More: ‘State must finally accept its role’: Amnesty responds to Magdalene report

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Gavan Reilly

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