Ireland to pay ex-residents of Catholic-run laundries at least $45 million

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Ireland's government says it will pay an estimated 770 surviving residents of Catholic-run "Magdalene" laundries at least 34.5 million euros ($45 million) to compensate them for their years of unpaid labor and degradation.

Wednesday's announcement by Justice Minister Alan Shatter follows the findings of a government fact-finding probe into the abuses endured by women confirmed to a network of nun-operated workhouses.

The report in February found that women typically worked for little or no pay, often felt like prisoners and were assigned to the now-closed facilities on spurious moral grounds.

Shatter says women who spent any time working inside the laundries would receive payments ranging from 11,500 euros ($15,000) to 100,000 euros ($130,000) each. They also will be provided free state-funded medical care and state pensions upon reaching retirement age.