Dublin councillors vote to block sale of Magdalene laundry

Dublin City Council moves to retain last remaining laundry in State ownership

The exterior of the  Magdalene laundry on Sean McDermott Street in Dublin. File photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

The exterior of the Magdalene laundry on Sean McDermott Street in Dublin. File photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

 

Dublin City Council has voted overwhelmingly to halt the proposed sale of the last remaining Magdalene laundry in State ownership.

At a meeting on Thursday night, 37 councillors voted to retain ownership of the building on Sean McDermott Street, with eight voting against and two abstaining.

Japanese hotel chain Toyoko Inn had offered Dublin City Council €14.5 million for the two-acre site in the northeast inner city.

It wanted to build a 350-bed hotel on the site, as well as student accommodation and shops. Its proposal also included 60 apartments for social housing and a permanent memorial to the women who were incarcerated in the laundry before it closed in 1996.

The laundry was one of five sites which was to be redeveloped for private and social housing under a public-private partnership between the council and developer Bernard McNamara during the boom.

Social Democrat councillor Gary Gannon, who proposed the motion to block the sale, said Thursday’s vote was “hugely significant”.

He tweeted that he was “ looking forward to ensuring an appropriate memorial is placed there to honour the victims and survivors of institutional abuse”.

Survivors of the Magdalene laundries applauded from the public gallery as the result of the vote was read out. Additional reporting – PA