The government held a meeting on the 14th June 2011 to consider the circumstances of women who were admitted to the laundries and decided to set up an Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts and level of state involvement/interaction with the laundries. The final report was published on 5 February 2013.
The report reveals evidence of state involvement in five main areas:
- The routes by which the girls/women entered the laundries;
- The regulation of the laundries and state inspections of same;
- State funding and financial assistance including contracts for laundry services;
- The routes by which the girls/women left the laundries;
- Death registration, burials and examinations.
Of the 8,025 admissions to the laundries where the route of entry/referral are known 2,124 of these were referrals facilitated by the state. This amounts to 26.5% of such admissions. 8.1% came from the criminal justice system, 7.8% from industrial and reformatory schools, 6.8% came from health and social services sector and 3.9% for mother and baby homes. 14.8% of known entries were as a result of transfers from one laundry to another.
16.4% of admissions were categorised as self-referrals, 10.5% were referred by their families with 8.8% being referred by the local priests. 879 of the women/girls passed away while resident in the laundries.
23% of exits from the laundries were self-discharges, 22.2% were returned to their homes or reclaimed by their families, 10.3% were discharge to another Magdalene laundry, 7.1% left for further employment and a further 7.1% were dismissed or sent away. 1.9% of exits are recorded as having run away.
A number of exits also involved women/girls moving from Magdalene laundry to a state run operated institution. 2.7% were discharged to psychiatric hospitals, 2.5% to County and city care homes, 0.6% to the Gardaí/probation officers/Courts/prison, 2.8% were discharged to hospitals either as patients or employees, 0.8% returned to industrial reformatory schools and 0.2% (in light of the fact that the pregnant woman was not permitted to remain in the Magdalene laundry) were admitted to mother and baby homes.
In our next blog we will look at how the government proposes to deal with the fund which is to be established to benefit the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries.