Ireland will pay ex-residents of Catholic 'Magdalene' laundries at least £29 million, or €34.5 million, the Associated Press reports.
The head of the Irish Government Enda Kenny's apology to women who were made to work in Catholic-run workhouses known as Magdalene laundries.
As Ireland's Taoiseach offered a state apology to survivors of the Magdalene laundries, twenty women who were locked up of in one the workhouses watched.
Maureen Sullivan, who was 12 when she was sent to a Magdalene laundry when her father died, said Enda Kenny had given survivors their lives back.
"I'm proud now of the leader of our country. I can say that for the first time."
"I was never proud of anything in Ireland until today. He did the whole country proud and we re-wrote history this evening."
"He didn't hold back on anything
"He really did us proud. Now we can go on with our lives and we know that we've got an apology, and he's taken responsibility. It's just fantastic", she added.
Ireland's Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed that a government compensation fund will be set up for women forced to work in Magdalene laundries.
The president of the Law Reform Commission Judge John Quirke undertake a three-month review and make recommendations on payments to surviving women.
Mr Kenny also outlined plans to provide support, including medical cards, psychological and counselling services to survivors.
The Irish prime minister broke into tears as he made an historic and emotionally-charged state apology to survivors of the Magdalene laundries today.
Enda Kenny received a standing ovation in parliament after he described the Catholic-run workhouses as the "nation's shame" and accepted the state's direct involvement.
Mr Kenny said:
"I, as Taoiseach, on behalf of the state, the Government and our citizens deeply regret and apologise unreservedly to all those women for the hurt that was done to them, and for any stigma they suffered, as a result of the time they spent in a Magdalene Laundry".
The Irish government today apologised to the thousands of women who were locked up in Magdalene laundries - church workhouses for unmarried mothers.
Over 10,000 women were forced to work for nothing in the laundries that ran from 1922 to 1996.
Martha Fairlie reports:
The Justice for Magdalene group's Dr Katherine O'Donnell said laundry victims "lived in shame and secrecy and silence" and called for a state apology and reparation scheme.
The inquiry found the following about everyday life in a laundry:
- It reported, a harsh and physically demanding environment with a cold atmosphere and a rigid uncompromising work and prayer regime.
- Both verbal and psychological abuse was common.
- It was rare for a woman to have her head shaved as punishment but they had their hair cut back short in a bob.
More than 100 women were spoken to by the inquiry committee, more than half of whom are in nursing homes.