Magdalene laundries: Irish PM issues formal apology
19 February 2013 Last updated at 22:03 GMT
The Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach), Enda Kenny, has formally apologised on behalf of the state for its role in the Magdalene laundries.
Some 10,000 women and girls were made to do unpaid manual labour in laundries run by Roman Catholic nuns in Ireland between 1922 and 1996.
More than a quarter of those who spent time in the laundries had been sent there by the Irish state.
Chris Buckler reports.