Council vote on Magdalene Laundry sale pushed back

by Rachel Darcy

A councillor advocating against the sale of the last Magdalene Laundry site in the city centre has said he is “disappointed” following a council meeting on Monday.

On Monday, a council meeting was held where several councillors were contesting the sale of the Sean McDermott Street laundry site, after an emergency motion was tabled against the sale.

More than 10,000 people signed a petition against the sale of the site, organised by north inner city councillor, Gary Gannon (SD).

The site is the last Magdalene Laundry building that is still owned by the state, following its closure in 1996.

However, the motion had to be moved to a meeting on September 13, as there was an insufficient amount of time left in the meeting for a vote to be held, as Lord Mayor Nial Ring spent time attempting to calm councillors.

Taking to Twitter, Cllr Gannon said: “I’m enormously disappointed but determined to redouble my efforts to ensure this sale is defeated.”

Previously, it has been said that the Sean McDermott site is expected to be sold to Toyoko Inn – a Japanese hotel chain – for €14.5m.

On the new hotel site were plans by the hotel to construct a memorial to those impacted by the Laundries, as requested by DCC, alongside a 351-bed hotel and other amenities.

Cllr Gannon told Dublin Gazette: “My politics have always been about being polite and working in collaboration with groups, but I think I’m going to change my tack on this particular issue.”

He slammed the decision to contemplate selling the site at all, saying that there was “an arrogance” from Dublin City Council in regard to the historical site, and that the laundries should be openly addressed.

“People are looking to finding a meaning to that chapter in our history – what’s the point in building museums about all the times we were great if we don’t acknowledge the times when we weren’t?

“I think it’s a shady part of [our country’s] character that we need to address,” he said.

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