5 February 2013
The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy welcomes the publication of the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalen Laundries. For the women who spent time in Magdalen Homes, we hope this Report brings clarity, greater understanding and healing.
Two Magdalen Homes, at Dun Laoghaire and Galway were under the care of Convents of Mercy. Both were already in operation before coming under our care. The Home at Dun Laoghaire closed in 1963. The laundry at the Galway Home closed in 1984. Many of the women who resided in the Galway Home remained voluntarily in our care for the remainder of their lives.
Our Galway records suggest that women came to the Home in many different ways. They stayed for varying periods of time. Some women came and went on several occasions.
We fully acknowledge and are saddened by the limitations of the care which could be provided in these Homes. Their institutional setting was far removed from the response considered appropriate to such needs today. We wish that we could have done more and that it could have been different. It is regrettable that the Magdalen Homes had to exist at all.
Our sisters worked in the laundries with the women and, while times and conditions were harsh and difficult, some very supportive, lifelong friendships emerged and were sustained for several decades.
We would like to extend an invitation to anyone who may have spent some time in either Dun Laoghaire or Galway to come and meet with us, if they so wish.
Finally, we wish to thank Senator McAleese, Nuala Ní Mhuircheartaigh and the members of the Committee for their detailed and thorough work in this sensitive area.
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