Thoughts on a New Ireland: Oral History and the Magdalene Laundries.

As part of the blognival ‘Thoughts on a New Ireland’, HRinI is pleased to publish this post by Katherine O’Donnell, Director of Women’s Studies, (UCD School of Social Justice) and member of the Advisory Committee of Justice for Magdalenes.

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) www.magdalenelaundries.com has been focused on providing evidence of the Irish State’s collusion in the punitive, recarceal, for-profit-enterprises known as the Magdalene Laundries which were operated at ten locations by four Catholic religious orders – the last one closed in 1996. JFM has been circulating a draft ‘restorative justice and redress scheme’ for the women and girls who were incarcerated in the Magdalene Laundry system.

We propose that, following an apology by the State, a dedicated unit within the Department of Justice is established with the remit of facilitating surviving women and their families to access all state social services to which they are entitled and to operating as an ‘inter-departmental’ hub in further facilitating other State services and expertise. We are currently working on the detail of a compensation scheme, for lost wages, pension contributions and personal damage, the funding of which is envisaged will be provided by the Religious Congregations. In coming to terms with the complexities we have become avid students of  the wide variety of truth commissions and redress schemes which everywhere have to navigate the  gap between best Human Rights practice such as that enshrined in the 2005 UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law etc. and  individuals’ rights to privacy, family life and a good name.

Continue reading “Thoughts on a New Ireland: Oral History and the Magdalene Laundries.”

Thoughts on a New Ireland: Oral History and the Magdalene Laundries.

Murphy Report: Chapter 19 Published

On Friday last, December 17, another chapter of the terrible Irish history of clerical child sexual abuse was made public. Chapter 19 of the Report of the Murphy Commission (Commission of Investigation into Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin) was held back from the original publication of the report in November of last year (read blog posts on the original publication here, here, here and here) due to ongoing legal proceedings against the central figure discussed therein, Fr. Tony Walsh. Those proceedings, relating to the sexual abuse of three boys from Ballyfermot in the late 1970s and early 1980s, concluded on December 6th, with Walsh being sentenced to 16 year’s imprisonment, with the final four suspended, for a conviction in one case and guilty pleas in the two other cases.

The Report describes Walsh, who is referred to throughout as “Fr. Jovito”, as the “most notorious child sexual abuser” to come to its attention, abusing children from his time as a seminarian at Clonliffe College, right on through his priesthood and even while he was appealing Rome’s decision to dismiss him from the priesthood. Both frighteningly and sadly, the Report states Continue reading “Murphy Report: Chapter 19 Published”

Murphy Report: Chapter 19 Published

O'Rourke on Redress for Survivors of the Magdalene Laundries and Bethany Home

We are delighted to welcome back Maeve O’Rourke for her second guest post on HRinI. Maeve’s first post, on Slavery, Forced Labour and the Magdalene Laundries is available here. You can find out more about Maeve on our Guests page.

Last Wednesday in the Dáil, Dermot Ahern and Séan Haughey both repeated the government’s decision not to apologise or provide redress to the survivors of Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries or Bethany Home. The reasons they gave are difficult to stomach. It is an increasing disgrace that the survivors of such terrible abuse in Magdalene Laundries and Mother and Baby Homes are having to beg for recognition when we should be overwhelmingly grateful that they still have the will to tell us the real story of Ireland’s past. In the grand scheme of things, the cost of compensating the survivors of these institutions and of documenting their suffering would be small, while the benefit to Irish society and to future generations of examining what it was that allowed such abuse to take place to Irish women and their children would be priceless.

The government does not seem to understand, or care, that the child abuse in industrial and reformatory schools was not some blip in our nation’s history Continue reading “O'Rourke on Redress for Survivors of the Magdalene Laundries and Bethany Home”

O'Rourke on Redress for Survivors of the Magdalene Laundries and Bethany Home