New research into Magdalene Laundries in the north commissioned

Unidentified Magdalene Laundry in Ireland in early 20th Century.
Unidentified Magdalene Laundry in Ireland in early 20th Century.

The Department of Health has announced it has commissioned research on Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland.

The research will be undertaken over the next 12 months by academics based at Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University.

The teams will examine the operation of the homes and laundries between 1922 and 1999.

As well as speaking to those with direct experience of the various institutions, the research team plans to examine government and institutional records to enable the researchers to build a narrative about the women and children who resided in the homes and those who worked in the laundries.

The research has been commissioned to fulfil a decision by the former NI Executive to review the evidence around the experience of residents of certain institutions not considered by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI).

At the direction of the former Executive, an inter-departmental working group was established.

The Group is chaired by Norah Gibbons, who has been involved in inquiries in this general field both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the research, Ms Gibbons said: “I am delighted that the research has now been commissioned. It is essential that we develop a strong evidence base about the operation of these institutions in the last century.

“The research will not only look at historical records. Critically, it will also involve listening to and collating the accounts of women who resided in Mother and Baby Homes or worked in Magdalene Laundries.

“The research will assist the Working Group, which I chair, to provide advice to Ministers in the future.”