Padraic Halpin
Reuters
February 6, 2013

Many of the women and girls subjected to harsh discipline and unpaid work in Ireland’s now-notorious Magdalene Laundries were sent there by the Irish state, an official report said.

The laundries, run by Catholic nuns, have been accused of treating inmates like “slaves” for decades of the 20th century, imposing a regime of fear and prayer on girls sometimes put in their care for simply falling pregnant outside wedlock.

Irish governments had in the past denied blame, emphasising the laundries were private institutions, but the 1,000-page report concludes there was “significant state involvement”, with one in four inmates sent there via various arms of the state.

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