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Historic event for Magdalene women

Wednesday, 6th June, 2018 3:47pm

At least 60 women travelled from Cork to a historic two-day event in Dublin this week for survivors of Magdalene Laundries.

Magdalene women were invited to the event held on Tuesday and Wednesday to enable them to meet and talk to each other.

The event was organised by Dublin Honours Magdalenes, a voluntary group who came together with entrepreneur Norah Casey to honour them.

It was the first time that many of them were able to speak freely to other women incarcerated in the laundries.

This event was held to fulfil two key aspects of the Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme. That was to bring together those women who wish to meet others who also spent time in the Magdalene Laundries, and to provide an opportunity for a listening exercise to gather views on how the Magdalene Laundries should be remembered by future generations.

At a gala dinner in the Mansion House on Tuesday, with more than 220 survivors in attendance, the Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan said it was difficult for him to stand with the survivors as he is representing the State which let them down.

During his address to the survivors, he said: “To say that I am privileged and humbled to be standing here tonight is an understatement. To be frank, it is also a difficult and daunting place for me to stand. It’s difficult, because I am only too aware that as a Government minister I represent the State which let each and every one of you down.

“This State allowed you be incarcerated, and made to work in Magdalene Laundries. We had a duty of care, we had a job of inspection, and we failed. Indeed we even took on the role, in some cases, of referring agent. And in so doing, we let you down.”

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