Magdalene Laundries inquiry move welcomed

Magdalene Asylum inmates.
Magdalene Asylum inmates.

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed a new working group to look into a possible inquiry around Magdalene Laundries and mother and baby homes.

The Magdalene Laundries in Ireland were institutions run by the Catholic Church for decades with the knowledge of the State.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin.

Thousands of women were incarcerated in such facilities and made to work in laundries run by the Church.

Many of these women were taken there because they were deemed to be ‘fallen women’ for reasons that could include that they had become pregnant out of wedlock or even for flirtatious behaviour.

Many suffered horrific abuse, many were forced to sign over their own babies for adoption, and the women were also forced to endure separation from their families and the outside world.

Many died without ever getting their lives back.

Ms McLaughlin said: “I welcome the agreement from the Executive to set up an interdepartmental working group led by the Department of Health to make recommendations on the scope of any proposed inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene laundries.

“The working group will bring its recommendations to the Executive within six months.

“Last week my party colleague Jennifer McCann met with a number of individuals and groups who were directly affected by the abuse they suffered in Mother and Baby Homes and listened to their experiences.

“This is a step forward for all of those who have suffered greatly from being in these homes.

“It will follow a similar model which led the Executive to establish the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

“While I welcome this step forward, Sinn Féin’s position that all victims and Mother and Baby Homes are entitled to a full inquiry.”