Event honouring Magdalene laundries survivors gets go-ahead

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan says he will facilitate two-day event in Dublin in June

The Department of Justice will facilitate a two-day event to honour the survivors of the Magdalene laundries in Dublin this June.

Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) had appealed to the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, asking would he invite survivors on their behalf, as his department is the only organisation with details of those who spent time in the laundries. Mr Flanagan confirmed he would do so on Thursday evening.

Katherine O’Donnell of JFMR said “this is a very important breakthrough” and a “long-awaited response” to recommendations of the Magdalene redress scheme.

Ms O’Donnell said the scheme recommends that “the women be supported to meet and get to know each other, and that they discuss how they would like their experiences to be officially remembered”.


“It is wonderful that, having taken the initiative to hold the event, originally with backing from the Lord Mayor and Dublin city councillors, we can rest assured that the Magdalene women will be contacted discreetly by the Minister,” she said.

“We will now concentrate on making this an historic celebration of resilience, warmth and compassion, qualities which have been shown in abundance by those who have spent time in Magdalene laundries.”

The organisation is due to meet the Minister later this month to discuss the event.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál Mac Donncha announced earlier this week he will host the women at the Mansion House on June 5th and 6th, and the council’s central area committee has agreed to contribute towards the cost of the two-day event.

People Before Profit TD Brid Smith told the Dáil on Tuesday “the State should pick up the tab for this two-day event and assist the survivors’ group in bringing these women together”.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times