Ireland has admitted some responsibility for workhouses run by Catholic nuns that once kept thousands of women and teenage girls against their will in unpaid, forced labor.
The apology comes after an expert panel found that Ireland should be legally responsible for the defunct Magdalene Laundries because authorities committed about one-quarter of the 10,012 women to the workhouses from 1922 to 1996, often in response to school truancy or homelessness.
"To those residents who went through the Magdalene Laundries in a variety of ways, 26 percent of the time from state involvement, I am sorry for those people that they lived in that kind of environment," said Prime Minister Enda Kenny on behalf of the Irish government, according to Reuters.
Survivors said they were unsatisfied with the prime minister's response. Steven O'Riordan, spokesperson for Magdalene Survivors Together, told Irish paper The Journal the apology was a "cop out."
Ireland stigmatized those that had been committed as "fallen" women - prostitutes - but most were simply unwed mothers or their daughters.
The report found that 15 percent lived in the workhouses for more than five years, and police caught and returned women who fled. They endured 12-hour work days of washing and ironing.
"I am sorry for those people that have lived in that kind of environment?" Treat women like slaves for decades, take away their freedoms, and force many of them to raise their children in a prison like environment, and they are supposed to be satisfied with "I am sorry?"
You know it is not surprising that the Catholic church treated women who they would have considered "sinners" like common slaves, their oppression of women is well documented, but the government had a responsibility to protect its citizens.
Personally I hope the survivors get together and sue both the Irish government and Catholic church for every thing that they've got.
I guess I should not even bother to ask (Yet again) WHY women would still consider themselves members of the Catholic church, but I remain completely confused by that.