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Where does the sale of the Sean McDermott St Magdalene Laundry stand?

A consultation process with 150 Magdalene survivors is to take place on the 5 and 6 June.

THE SALE OF the old Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott Street is to continue while consultations continue with survivors groups on how they would like the buildings to be used.

Magdalene Laundry site Source: Dublin City Council

Japanese hotel chain Toyoko Inn is the preferred bidder for the site - it plans to build a 35o-bed hotel with a meeting room, restaurant and bar; 140 studio apartments; 10 residential units and a car park.

It also plans to convert the chapel into a gallery or an event centre, a community centre to the rear of the portico; and a supermarket.

Councillor Gary Gannon said that there isn’t a Magdalene Laundry like it that’s still in the possession of the State, and shouldn’t be sold off for private interest.

The plans to sell the site do include, however, a provision for a memorial on the site of the former laundry. In order to pinpoint the type of commemoration survivors would like for the former sites of institutional abuse, Dublin City Council is helping organise a two-day conference of around 150 survivors in June.

Magdalene Laundries were institutions run by the Catholic Church, which took in ‘fallen women’ (eg, women who became pregnant out of wedlock). The nuns would give the women manual labour to do, and many survivors reported that they were cruelly and brutally treated during their time there.

Women have reported that they were beaten, put into solitary confinement, their hair cut, threatened, and verbally abused.

Often it would be women’s families who would admit them, and the Laundries received State sponsorship to run the institutions.

9525 Magdalene laundrie_90521513 The Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott Street. Source: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

In previous interviews, survivors wishes on what to do with the site on Sean McDermott Street ranged from burning the site to the ground, to placing a garden with a fountain to the side of the site.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Dublin City Council said that the sale process would continue while the consultation with Magdalene survivors was ongoing.

It’s estimated that the value of the sale would be €14.5 million, and that the majority of the proceeds would go towards the refurbishment of a former school building on Rutland Street.

It said that councillors would vote on the sale of the site during a meeting in May.

The proposal, as we have already indicated, will include a commitment for a suitable memorial on the redeveloped site.
If the disposal is approved it will take at least 12 months for the developer to get full Planning Permission and to prepare the site for development.

“This would allow sufficient time for consultation with all the interested parties,” it said.

Dublin City Council said it would also consult with the local community on the development.

“The ultimate development on the site will be subject to a signed development agreement between Dublin City Council and the developer which will include a suitable memorial on which the survivor groups would have an input.”

As part of construction efforts to date, no evidence of any burials have been found at this site, but Dublin City Council said that all stages of construction will be monitored by a conservationist.

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