What to do with the site of the last remaining Magdalene laundry in State ownership is proving bitterly divisive, writes Sharon ní Bheoláin.

Dublin City Council had proposed selling the convent and grounds at Sean McDermott Street to a Japanese Hotel group.

However, last week, councillors voted overwhelmingly to block the sale, saying it was culturally insensitive.

RTÉ News spoke to one former resident, who at 13 years of age was put to work in the laundry, having been dispatched there from an industrial school in Kilkenny. 

'When they tried to escape, they got themselves wrapped up in the barbed wire'

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Tony Dunleavy, of Dublin's North East Inner City, recalls the Sean McDermott Street Magdalene Laundry, and the occasions he and his late wife came to the aid of women confined there.   

Read more:

Magdalene Survivors
'I wasn't even 15. I hadn't even kissed a boy'