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UN seeks compensation for Magdalene scandal victims

The UN committee on the Rights of the Child has said the Catholic Church has not yet taken measures to prevent a repeat of cases of forced labour such as Ireland's Magdalene laundries scandal.

A man walks past a memorial at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin to those who worked in the Magdalene Laundries. Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

A separate official report, published in February last year, found the Irish state was responsible for sending many women and girls to the now-notorious laundries, where they were subjected to a harsh regime of intimidation, prayer and unpaid work.

Today's UN report has called for the Vatican to begin an internal investigation of the laundries and similar institutions to lead to appropriate prosecutions. It has demanded that "full compensation be paid to the victims and their families" upon its completion.

The Vatican is expected to issue a statement on the damning UN report later today.

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Magdalene survivor: Kenny 'really did us proud'

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."

Maureen Sullivan (left) and Kathleen Janette of Magdalene Survivors Together after hearing Taoiseach Enda Kenny's state apology Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

"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.

Members of Magdalene Survivors Together in Dublin Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ireland confirms Magdalene laundry compensation

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.

Irish PM apologises over Magdalene laundries

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.

Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny

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".

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Irish Govt apologise to thousands locked up in laundries

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:

Inside a derelict Dublin Magdalene laundry

Women were locked up in Catholic-run workhouses known as Magdalene laundries between 1922 and 1996. Credit: Julien Behal/PA Wire
The now derelict Sisters of Our Lady of Charity Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott St in Dublin. Credit: Julien Behal/PA Wire
The front door and hallway of the now derelict Sisters of Our Lady of Charity Magdalene Laundry. Credit: Julien Behal/PA Wire
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