October 25, 2017
A former Church-run Magdalene laundry in Dublin’s north inner city should be converted into a social history museum rather than being sold, Social Democrats Councillor Gary Gannon said today.
Cllr Gannon made the call on the 21st anniversary of the closure of the Gloucester Street Laundry which was run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity and ceased operations on October 25th 1996.
Cllr Gannon said:
“The Gloucester Street Laundry, now on Sean McDermott Street, has recently been placed up for sale by Dublin City Council. It is the only Magdalene laundry of its kind that is currently in the possession of the State.
“There are lots of rumours that the building may become a business hostel or a hotel, and that the local community will somehow benefit from this development. But many people, myself included, do not accept this as a worthy trade-off for what we would stand to lose once any sell-off is completed.
“In his report on the Magdalene laundries in May 2013, Mr Justice Quirke recommended this site as a location considered suitable for a memorial that would ‘honour and commemorate the Magdalene women past and present’.
“This promised memorial has yet to materialise and now Dublin City Council officials plan to sell the entire site with only a vague commitment that a memorial would be included as part of any future redevelopment.
“Instead of knocking down the building, we could create something truly meaningful at that location. It could be converted into a centre of commemoration and remembrance for both the victims and the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries and the many other institutions of moral repression that existed throughout the State since our foundation. Turning this building into a social history museum would breathe new life into the local area in a way that another soulless hotel simply couldn’t.”
25th October 2017