As many as eight Irish government departments will be investigated as part of a new an inquiry into the Magdalene Laundries, according to a group representing the survivors who met with the Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter at the weekend.

Doctor James Smith of Boston College, a representative of the Justice for Magdalenes group, told the Irish Examiner that a committee examining the state’s involvement will begin examining the records of various government departments as early as next week.


Read more:

UN Torture Committee asks for inquiry into Magdalene laundries

Exhumed records shows Dublin customers of the Magdalene Laundries

Church accused of ignoring Magdalene Laundry survivors


The Justice for the Magdalenes group met with the Irish minister for over two hours  at the weekend, where they also called on the congregations of nuns who ran the institutions to make their records available to the committee, which is chaired by Senator Martin McAleese.

The eight government departments include Justice, Education, Health, Finance, Social Protection, Enterprise and Employment, Local Government and Defence.

Some of the departments had a role in placing selected girls in these institutions, while others had contracts for work with the laundries for which the women did not get paid.

The inter-departmental committee will examine the Irish state’s role in 10 Magdalene laundries where young women were forced to work six day weeks without pay between 1922 and 1996.

Meanwhile Doctor Smith said the committee should investigate not just what the Irish state did in facilitating the laundries, but also what it had failed to do.