Plans have been announced to turn the site of the former Magdalene laundry in Galway into a domestic violence refuge.

The Sisters of Mercy has donated its convent at Forster Street in the city to the COPE charity on a 99-year lease.

The charity approached the order earlier this year after a lengthy search for suitable premises in the city.

COPE CEO Jacquie Horan said its existing accommodation was not fit for purpose and did not have the capacity to deal with the number of clients who are referred.

She said the order had been very amenable to the idea.

A detailed examination of the site will now be carried out to assess what needs to be done to turn it into a suitable space for women and children suffering from domestic violence.

The charity is hopeful that it will be in a position to operate from the building by the end of the year.