Áras an Uachtaráin among users of Magdalene laundry


A LEDGER for a Magdalene laundry in Dublin’s Drumcondra reveals that its regular customers included Áras an Uachtaráin, Government departments, Guinnesses, some of Dublin’s leading hotels and golf clubs, Clerys, the Gaiety theatre and Dr Steevens hospital in the city.

It was run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity who operated two in Dublin, one at High Park in Drumcondra and the other on Seán Mac Dermott Street, the last Magdalene laundry in Ireland which closed in 1996.

The ledger was found at the High Park laundry during the exhumation of Magdalene women’s remains there in 1993 when the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity sold off land to developers after losing money in an investment in Guinness Peat Aviation.

Permission was sought to exhume 133 bodies for cremation and interment in a mass grave in Glasnevin. In the exhumation process a further 22 bodies were found which the congregation could not account for.

The ledger, which covers October 20th 1980 to March 18th 1981, has since come into the hands of the Magdalene Survivors Together group, whose director Steven O’Riordan brought it to the attention of The Irish Timesyesterday.

It discloses that, including those listed above, regular customers for the laundry, believed to be the one at High Park, included the Department of Justice, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Fisheries and CIÉ. Dublin hotels such as Buswells, the North Star, the Ormond, Skylon, the Sutton Castle, as well as Portmarnock and Clontarf Golf clubs. Included also are religious congregations in the city. Dublin airport, and the Bank of Ireland were also regular customers of the laundry.

An entry for Áras an Uachtaráin, dated March 2nd 1981, lists a bill of £10.84 while one for Guinnesses, dated March 23rd 1981, lists a bill of £10.89. The Department of Fisheries was billed £3.25 on March 16th 1981, while the Department of Agriculture was billed £6.92 on February 9th 1981. The Department of Justice was billed £20.28 on January 19th, 1981.

Some of the larger bills are for hotels with the Sutton Castle billed £88 on December 15th 1980 and Buswells £69, on the same date. Portmarnock Golf Club was billed £2.84 on December 2nd 1980 while that for Clontarf Golf Club on November 17th 1980 was £7.59. The Gaiety theatre was billed £4.65 on January 12th 1981.