DUBLIN, Feb 5 (Reuters) - An official report said on Tuesday the Irish state was responsible for sending many women and girls to the now-notorious "Magdalene Laundries", where they were subjected to a harsh regime of intimidation, prayer and unpaid work.
The institutions, run by Catholic nuns, have been accused of treating inmates who were sometimes put in their care for sexual misdemeanours or simply for illegitimacy, like "slaves" for decades of the 20th century.
Irish governments had in the past insisted the Laundries operated purely privately. But the report by an inter-departmental committee said one in four of the inmates were sent there by the state.
"To those residents who went through the Magdalene Laundries in a variety of ways, 26 percent of the time from state involvement, I am sorry for those people that they lived in that kind of environment," Prime Minister Enda Kenny said on Tuesday. (Editing by Andrew Roche)