Ireland to pay $58m to Catholic 'Magdalene' laundry workers

DUBLIN (AP) - Ireland's government says it will pay an estimated 770 surviving residents of Catholic-run "Magdalene" laundries at least 34.5 million euros (S$57.8 million) to compensate them for their years of unpaid labour 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 to 100,000 euros each. They also will be provided free state-funded medical care and state pensions upon reaching retirement age.