Dublin councillors vote to halt sale of former Magdalene Laundry site

Plans had been put forward to sell the site on Seán McDermott Street to a Japanese hotel chain

Dublin councillors vote to halt sale of former Magdalene Laundry site

Ms. Mary Smith who was in the Magdalenes Laundy in Sundays Well in Cork, protesting outside Dublin City Hall with the Not Yours to Sell group over proposals by Dublin Council to sell the laundry premises off Sean McDermot St in Dublin. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Councillors have voted to stop the sale of the last Magdalene Laundry site in Dublin city centre.

The decision was taken at tonight's meeting of Dublin City Council.

Plans were proposed back in 2017 to sell the Sean McDermott Street site to Japanese hotel chain Toyoko.

Social Democrats Councillor Gary Gannon is welcoming the development, saying there was a lot of support for his motion.

He said: "I was quite surprised that there was almost overwhelming support - I think at least 80% of the elected members of Dublin City Council voted to approve the motion."

Cllr Gannon added that the vote was 'hugely significant', saying: "It means that we maintain ownership over that particular site, and we can build a memorial and commemoration centre of real substance to honour women who were incarcerated and abused at that location.

"We get to own the site and not outsource it to a private company - I think that's vital for our city."

The Dublin site was the last Magdalene Laundry in Ireland and closed in October 1996.

General view of a Magdalene laundry on Sean McDermott Street in Dublin city | Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive/PA Images

A report published earlier this week found that a permanent memorial must be included in any redevelopment of the property.

However, the report also claimed the potential sale was a "powerful opportunity and really the chance of a lifetime for the Sean McDermott area".

The report noted: "We fully understand and recognise the acute sensitivity of the Magdalene Laundry site and we are fully committed to the development of a suitable memorial for the women who suffered awfully there but we do think that this needs to be balanced with the suffering experienced by families and young people from the area through deprivation, unemployment and very serious criminality including the ravages of drug addiction over a long number of years."

More than 10,000 people had signed a petition against the sale, calling for the site to instead be "preserved as a national centre for commemoration and education".