Cllr Gary Gannon calls for halt to Magdalene Laundry redevelopment in Sean McDermott St

March 7, 2017

Dublin Social Democrat Councillor Gary Gannon secured a motion at last night’s Dublin City Council meeting to prioritise the needs of Magdalene survivors from the Sean McDermott Street laundry before its sale and redevelopment.

Speaking after the City Council Meeting, Cllr Gannon said:

“The revelations this week demonstrate again how we have failed those who were incarcerated in the Magdalene laundries and in Mother and Baby homes.

The City Council, in proceeding to sell off the laundry in Sean McDermott street, have failed to implement the terms of the Quirk Commission and the Magdalene restorative justice scheme. My emergency motion, passed last night by the City Council, calls on the Council to meet with the Magdalene survivors to erect a memorial at the site. This is the very least we can do.

However, I also now call on Dublin City Council not to proceed with any sale or permit any development on the site until they show conclusively that there are no unmarked graves at this location.

It is imperative that we uncover the whole truth of what happened to women and children in these institutions, and answer questions that many of the women still have about what happened to them and their children.

The City Council has a grave responsibility to uncover any terrible secrets that the laundry at Sean McDermott street may hold.”


Emergency Motion to Dublin City Council from Councillor Gary Gannon:: 

The elected members of Dublin City Council note with concern that the site of the former Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott Street has been advertised as ‘For Sale’ to private development without the implementation of Justice Quirke’s accepted recommendation that a memorial be placed at the site which would ‘honour and commemorate the Magdalen women past and present.’

Accordingly, the elected members of this City Council requests that Dublin City Council commits to convening and consulting with a committee of Magdalene survivors, with a view to establishing a memorial at the site of the council owned Sean McDermott Street convent, as recommended by the Quirke Commissiion and promised by the Government as part of the Magdalene restorative justice scheme.

Reason for the Motion:

The Justice for the Magdalene Research group and the Adoption Rights Alliance has today called for a halt to the redevelopment of this site until such time as it can be established that there are no unmarked graves of children at this location.

It is incumbent upon us as a City Council to adhere to this request.

In regards to the consultative forum which I am requesting to be established, it was a recommendation of Judge Quirk that a memorial be placed at this site to “honour and commemorate the women” held not only in this laundry, but throughout the State.

This recommendation was accepted in full by the previous government but has yet to materialise. No sale should take place until such time as the memorial is completed.

An consultative group consisting of groups representing the women held at these laundries, such as ‘Justice for the Magdalene Research and the Adoption Rights Alliance would be the people best positioned to decide upon the type of memorial that should be placed at this site.

[ENDS] 7th March 2017