Prime Minister Enda Kenny apologized Feb. 19 for Ireland turning a blind eye to women imprisoned in “Magdalene Laundries,” Roman Catholic-run workhouses — the last of which closed in 1996. Incarcerated for being “fallen” women, most were not prostitutes, simply impoverished, homeless or from dysfunctional families. More than 10,000 young women spent months or years without education doing menial labor for the church’s profit. Kenny said Ireland owes compensation to the women and will offer aid to about 1,000 survivors still living, as well as a national memorial.
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