President Michael D Higgins has congratulated survivors of Magdelene Laundries for making society listen to the terrible wrongs done to them.

He told a group of the women at Áras an Uachtaráin that he was pleased the justice of their cause had led to public acknowledgement of the enormous wrong they suffered at the hands of the State and society.

A group of 39 so-called "Magdalene women" met President Higgins at the request of Steven O'Riordan, spokesman for the Magdalene Survivors Together group.

Ten travelled from Britain for the occasion which many said they could never have predicted even in their wildest dreams.

President Higgins said the recent recognition of the justness of their cause was due to their own indefatigable efforts and the work of supportive advocates.

Referring to last week's package of State payments and other supports, he said he hoped it would mark an important milestone in their long campaign for justice.

President Higgins reminded them that they had caused important questions to be asked so as to ensure that similar mistakes might never be repeated.

"Your courage shows that there are no inevitabilities in life that cannot be transformed by the justness of a cause and strength of a conviction," President Higgins told the women.