The Irish Pastoral Centre, located at St. Brendan Parish in Dorchester, is offering its services in connection with the Irish government’s reconciliation process in the matter of the Magdalene Laundries scandal.
The laundries - often described as “prisons” by the women who worked in them - were established in the 18th century for Ireland’s “fallen” women and remained in operation until 1996, when the last laundry closed. An estimated 30,000 women and girls are thought to have been institutionalized for a myriad of reasons, from “being bold” to having a child out of wedlock. They were forced to work long hours in poor conditions for no pay.
Boston resident James Smith, an Ireland native working at Boston College, spearheaded a sustained campaign for Justice for Magdalene Laundry women in both the UK and Ireland between 2001 and 2004. A decade later, following a government-sponsored probe of the Magdalene operation, a program of payments was set up for women who were admitted to and worked in the laundries and associated enterprises. In June 2013, the justice who supervised the investigation recommended that surviving women identified as working in the Magdalene system receive cash payments in the range 11,500 euros for a stay 3 months or less to 100,000 euros for a stay of 10 years or more
Since that announcement, the Irish Department of Justice and Equality has been processing applications for restitution to this day.
If you were resident in a Magdalene Laundry in Ireland, (or if you know someone who was) and would like to find out more about the Restorative Justice Scheme, please feel free to contact the Irish Pastoral Centre confidentially at 617-265-5300, Ext 10 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.