General News / June 22, 2022

Councillors approve of memorial on last Magdalene laundry site

General News / June 22, 2022

Councillors approve of memorial on last Magdalene laundry site

Words: Ellen Kenny

The memorial site will be another step toward providing reparations for the victims of religious and institutional abuse.

Councillors on the Central Area Committee have approved plans to transfer the site of the last Magdalene laundry to the Office of Public Works (OPW).

The OPW will build a memorial to commemorate all those who were victims of mother and baby homes, industrial and reformatory schools, and the Magdalene laundries.

The memorial building on Sean McDermott Street will comprise an exhibition space led by the National Museum of Ireland and a dedicated area for “reflection and remembrance.” There will also be a research centre and record repository related to institutional trauma in the 20th century.

A council report said that the site will also host social housing and an educational facility.

Image: Niall Carson/PA

“We can’t do anything about the past but we can certainly do something for today and tomorrow,” said Ciaran O’Connor, the state architect with the OPW. 

The entire Dublin City Council still has to vote on whether to transfer the site to the OPW. A vote is likely to happen at the next council meeting in July.

The memorial was promised in 2013, after Justice John Quirke interviewed around 400 women who worked in the infamous laundries. 

In his review of what redress was necessary for victims, Justice Quirke recommended a memorial be built in the form of a garden or museum on Sean McDermott Street site.

Justice Quirke also recommended that victims be reimbursed financially and be given free GP appointments, hospital care, drugs and dental counselling.

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