The transformation of the former Magdalene Laundry at Forster Street is to commence inside the next four weeks, and be transformed into a comfortable refuge set to open for use by COPE Galway before Christmas 2019.
Details of the new centre to be called Modh Eile (Another Way ) were revealed this week when COPE Galway launched a booklet honouring the memory and testimony of the women who had worked there over the past 150 years.
Already €3 million of the €4 million needed to complete the refurbishment has been raised and COPE’s Jacquie Horan says she is confident that the generosity of the Galway public will deliver the balance over the coming year.
The new, enhanced facility is urgently needed by the women and children of Galway as the Waterside House building used currently for COPE Galway’s Domestic Abuse Service has been unfit for purpose for many years now. In particular, there is not enough space for all who present for safe refuge – the local organisation was unable to accommodate 258 women and their 441 children who sought refuge there in 2017.
COPE Galway’s search for a new facility commenced more than ten years ago. After five years of trying to source and secure a suitable alternative, the Mercy order offered the charity a gift of the convent building, right in the heart of Galway City and close to all amenities and services.
The Magdalen Laundry operated in Forster St from 1870 to 1984. As COPE Galway prepares to renovate the convent building associated with the Magdalen Laundry, the organisation seeks also to acknowledge its history, and the lives of the women associated with it.