The interior of the now derelict Sisters of Our Lady of Charity Magdalene Laundry in Dublin
Many of the victims of Ireland's Catholic-run workhouses have rejected the apology by Prime Minister Enda Kenny, claiming he stopped short of a full apology on behalf of the Irish government and also failed to offer any financial compensation for what survivors have described as inhumane treatment, reports The UK Telegraph in the Canberra Times.
The inquiry, led by Senator Martin McAleese, found that 10,012 women were sent to Magdalene laundries between 1922 and 1996. Ten laundries were in operation at various times, run by four orders of Catholic nuns.
Justice for Magdalenes, an advocacy group, said it was aware of at least 988 women who are buried in laundry plots in cemeteries across Ireland and therefore must have stayed for life. The inquiry could certify only 879.
The McAleese report identified several areas where there was direct state involvement in the workhouses, including on some occasions when the government used the laundry services.
Surviving women rejected the apology and demanded a fuller admission of responsibility from the government and the religious orders involved. "That is not an apology," said Maureen Sullivan, of Magdalene Survivors Together group.
Mary Smyth, a surviving former inmate, described inhumane conditions in a laundry, which she said was worse than being in prison. "I will go to the grave with what happened. It will never, ever leave me," she said.
Steven O'Riordain, a representative of Magdalene Survivors Together, warned some women would go on hunger strike if the government did not meet their demands for compensation after an Irish parliament debate in two weeks.
The McAleese report was commissioned in 2011 after the UN Committee Against Torture called for an inquiry.
FULL STORY Workhouse survivors reject Irish PM's apology (Canberra Times)