The government has unveiled a compensation scheme worth up to €58 million for the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries.
The redress package is based on the recommendations of High Court judge Mr. Justice John Quirke. It provides for counselling services and medical cards for each of the women.
It will be available to around 700 women who kept in the laundries with payments ranging from between €11,500 and €100,000 depending on the length of their incarceration.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter said it was a profoundly important day for the former residents of the Laundries and he praised them for giving their time, energy and courage to see the establishment of the scheme.
He says he hopes the religious orders who ran the laundries will contribute to the fund.
The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy have welcomed the scheme. Two Magdalene homes, Dun Laoghaire and Galway, were under the care of Convents of Mercy.
The home at Dun Laoghaire closed in 1963 while the Laundry at the Galway home closed in 1984.
They say they are committed to providing assistance to help women to establish the period spent there so that they may avail of the proposed scheme.
A telephone-based counselling and support service is available for anyone distressed by today's announcement of the redress fund. Freephone 1800-477-477 from the Republic of Ireland and 00800-477-477-77 from Northern Ireland and the UK