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'State must finally accept its role': Amnesty responds to Magdalene report

Amnesty International Ireland says the Magdalenes report reveals “major human rights abuses” and demands urgent action.

John Ayres protests outside the Dail as the Magdalene Laundries report is published.
John Ayres protests outside the Dail as the Magdalene Laundries report is published.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE IRISH BRANCH of Amnesty International has called on the State to accept its role in the human rights abuses that occurred at the Magdalene Laundries.

The call came after the official report of an Inter-Departmental Committee discovered that the State had an active role in the admission of 2,124 women to Magdalene Laundries from 1922 onwards.

“The State must now finally accept its own role in what the report reveals,” Amnesty International Ireland director Colm O’Gorman said this afternoon.

“It is has ducked and denied its responsibility for what happened to these women and children, including to the UN Committee Against Torture, for far too long.”

O’Gorman said the scale of human rights abuses revealed in the report demanded “urgent action” from the government, and called for an immediate apology to the victims – with reparations to be paid accordingly.

“A fully independent investigation into the allegations of arbitrary detention, forced labour and ill-treatment that took place in the Magdalene laundries must be set up as soon as possible,” he said.

Justice must be done. The perpetrators must be identified and prosecuted.

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He added that any delay to such an investigation, or an apology, risked the possibility that more survivors of the Magdalene Laundries would die without ever seeing justice.

Read: Magdalene Laundries report finds direct State involvement

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

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Gavan Reilly

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