The Irish Government has apologised to the thousands of women locked up in Catholic-run workhouses known as Magdalene laundries between 1922 and 1996. Records have confirmed 10,012 women spent time in the workhouses across the country.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he regretted that the laundries were not investigated until 2011.
I am sorry that the state did not do more and the Government recognises that the women alive today who are still affected by their time in the laundries deserve the best supports that the state can provide.
It can no longer be claimed that these institutions were private and that 'the vast majority' of the girls and women entered voluntarily as has been claimed by former minister Batt O'Keeffe and testimony before the UN Committee Against Torture given by Sean Aylward, the former secretary general of the Department of Justice.
The Justice for Magdalenes 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, however, the inquiry could only certify 879.
The last laundry, Sean MacDermott Street in Dublin's north inner city, closed in 1996.
He said: "That the stigma, that the branding together of the residents, all 10,000 needs to be removed and should have been removed long before this and I'm really sorry that that never happened, and I regret that never happened.
"I'm sorry that this release of pressure and understanding of so many of those women was not done before this, because they were branded as being the fallen women, as they were referred to in this state."