93 women died in Limerick city’s Magdelene laundry

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

ALMOST 100 women died at the Good Shepherd convent in Limerick between 1922 and 1982, the report of the Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalene laundries has found.

ALMOST 100 women died at the Good Shepherd convent in Limerick between 1922 and 1982, the report of the Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalene laundries has found.

The report, which was published by the Department of Justice yesterday afternoon, states that a total of 93 women died at the Clare Street convent over the 60-year period.

The report examined reasons why women and girls entered the 10 religious-run laundries which were operating in the State between 1922 and 1996.

It found that in a quarter of cases girls and women were send to the laundries by the State.

Details of a several specific cases relating to girls and women who were sent to the Good Shepherd Convent in Limerick are outlined in the 1,000-page document.

In one case, it states that a woman convicted in 1946 of manslaughter was sentenced to five years’ penal servitude. However that sentence was suspended on condition she paid a £10 fine, keep the peace and “immediately enter the Good Shepherd Convent, Limerick for 5 years”.

In another case, a woman who was charged in 1949 with 10 counts of attempted murder was ordered to “immediately enter Good Shepherd Convent, Limerick for 12 months or any other institution to which she may be transferred” after she was found guilty of “administering poison”.

The report states that it was not possible to establish exactly how many women were sent by the courts to the Good Shepherd Convent in the city as it was not possible to locate the Limerick City District Court minute books for the period in 
question.

Fianna Fail justice spokesperson, Niall Collins yesterday called on the Government to apologise for its role in sending women and girls Magdalene 
laundries.

“What happened in the Magdalene laundries was wrong and we as a country need to acknowledge this and apologise,” he said.