Magdalene Laundry

The Western Star: ‘Survivors of Magdalene Laundries deserve peace after years of suffering’

It’s often gut-wrenching, but Dr. Rie Croll says there’s a sense of “urgency” in her research aimed at collecting stories of women forcibly confined in female-only laundries and reformatories before “they are forever lost to history.”

Her current research brings together stories of women from Ireland, Canada and Australia who spent time in institutions known as Magdalene Laundries. Many of these facilities were run by various orders of Roman Catholic nuns. The laundries operated from as early as the 18th Century before the last one closed in Dublin, Ireland 20 years ago.

“While the stated purpose of these institutions was the reform of prostitutes, unwed mothers, and ‘incorrigible’ girls, the stories I’ve gathered tell us that the inmate population contained countless unwanted, stolen, socially inconvenient, disregarded and/or neglected girls and women,” explained Dr. Croll, an associate professor and chair of Teaching and Learning at Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook.

“Confinement in the laundries — and related reformatories — essentially served to regulate and curtail the sexuality of generations of girls and women while the church exploited all of them as unpaid laundry labourers.”

Dr. Croll says many of the former inmates are still haunted by their experiences. She says silence was strictly enforced within the institutions and the women were forbidden to speak with one another or write to family members about their situations.

Click here to read the full article.

 

 

The entrance to the site of a mass grave of hundreds of children who died in the former Bons Secours home for unmarried mothers is seen in Tuam, County Galway

The I Newspaper: “Survivors of Ireland’s notorious homes for ‘fallen women’ where babies were ‘left to die’ speak out”

Catch IWSSN today on pg 26 in The i Newspaper, where our work in supporting the Irish investigation into Mother-and-Baby Homes is covered. Powerfully, clients of ours who are survivors of these homes, speak out about their experiences and the ordeals they suffered from as a result of the Mother-and-Baby Homes.

Two years ago this month, a local historian made a shocking discovery in Tuam, Ireland. In a gravesite near a Mother-and-Baby Home where unmarried women were sent to give birth, the remains of 800 babies were found in a septic tank. This sparked outrage in Ireland and across the world, and an independent investigation was launched to look into what took place at these homes, where over 35,000 women were thought to have been sent.

This article marks this anniversary and appeals to those who have information or experience relating to these homes, to come forward and give evidence confidentially. Please contact us on 0207 267 9997 to find out more.

Click here to read the full article.

 

 

Cakes at IWSSN Coffee Morning

Irish TV visits IWSSN’s Whispering Hope Centre in London

Irish TV visit our offices in London to find out more about how we’re supporting Irish survivors in the south of the country.

If you or someone you know is an Irish survivor of institutional care, please get in touch with IWSSN to find out more about our services and how we can support you. Call us on: 0207 267 9997 or email: info@irishsurvivorsuk.org.uk

 

Irish TV visits IWSSN offices in Manchester

Irish TV visit our offices in Manchester to find out more about how we’re supporting Irish survivors in the north of the country.

 

If you or someone you know is an Irish survivor of institutional care, please get in touch with IWSSN to find out more about our services and how we can support you. Call us on: 0161 839 7454 or email: deirdre@irishsurvivorsuk.org.uk

 

Enda Kenny TD - Irish State Apology - BBC Image

Novara Wire – Magdalene Laundries: ‘My life changed the day the state said sorry’

Novara Wire covered the third anniversary of the Irish state apology to women who were incarcerated in Ireland’s infamous Magdalene laundries.

A client of ours, ‘Mary C’ tells her sad but powerful story about her experiences of a laundry, the challenges she faced throughout her life because of the stigma and prejudice and the disadvantages she endured.

Importantly, ‘Mary C’ shares how her life changed the day the Irish state issued a formal apology to all the women who were incarcerated…

“Three years ago last month, the Irish government issued a state apology to survivors of the country’s infamous Magdalene laundries. That apology meant everything to me, just like it did for thousands of other women incarcerated for little more than being confident or poor. I bore deep scars from my time in a laundry.

“Born in a Mother-and-Baby Home in Dublin, Ireland, my mother –just like 35,000 others – was forced to give me up because she wasn’t married. The court ordered for my transferral to an orphanage in Kilkenny when I was two.”

Read the full article here.

Magdalene Laundry

Irish Sunday Business Post – Most vulnerable Magdalene survivors to be compensated under new law

The Irish Sunday Business Post reported on the long-awaited Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill that was passed by the Dáil recently.

 

Reporting on the passing of the bill, the Irish Sunday Business Post reported:

 

‘Around 40 Magdalene Laundry survivors with intellectual disabilities are finally going to be paid compensation thanks to the passage of new legislation.

Although more than 500 women received lump sums of up to €100,000 over the past year, it was not possible for compensation to be given to those who lacked the capacity to apply to the scheme.

But the long-awaited Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill passed by the Dáil will allow this to happen.

It will provide for Magdalene Laundry survivors with capacity issues to have a person appointed by a court apply for compensation on their behalf, or to appoint a supporter to help them do so. An estimated 10,000 women did unpaid manual labour in the country’s ten such laundries between 1922 and 1996.

Fine Gael TD David Stanton, who chaired the justice committee hearings into the bill, said it would change the way the courts deal with people with capacity issues.’

 

Charlotte Gerada, Campaigns and Policy Advisor for IWSSN commented:

 

‘IWSSN was very keen that the benefits of the compensation go to the 40 survivors with capacity issues and not to opportunistic legal firms.

‘Very few of the 79 women that our organisation had helped to apply to the scheme had hired a lawyer.

‘Whilst most lawyers have accepted the non-adversarial, straightforward application process, there are a few who continue to see the scheme as an opportunity to generate income – putting it politely.’

 

Read the full article here.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD visits the Whispering Hope Centre (photographs by Nyema Droma Photography)

Irish Post – Taoiseach asks abuse survivors to forgive Ireland for “abandoning and locking up” its children

The Irish Post reported on the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD’s visit to IWSSN’s Whispering Hope Centre, based in Kentish Town, London. The Taoiseach visited Whispering Hope to find out more about the support it has provided for Survivors living in the UK, and to meet with Magdalene Laundry Women who have benefited from the support offered by the Centre and financial awards from the Irish Department of Justice and Equality via the Restorative Justice Scheme.

 

Reporting on the visit, The Irish Post said:

“Speaking at the Whispering Hope Centre while in London this morning, where he met with Brit-based survivors of Ireland’s brutal Magdalene laundries and other institutions, he commended the bravery and dignity of those who came through those systems.

“I am aware that out there the state and Irish nation apologised to you, followed your stories and witnessed your transformation in a more insightful society,” he said.

“Out there we showed little mercy and here we are asking you to be merciful to us, forgive us for abandoning you, and locking you up.”

He added: “While all this was going on out there, in here, in your hearts and heads, progress has been made.

“In here, we celebrate your lives, we’re uplifted by your sense of kindness, warmed by the prospect of the future. Your forgiveness started on a cold February night, when a nation took back a secret.

“While you have got your heritage back, you have given the country back to us. Ireland is so much more insightful than before. You redeemed us and restored our country.””

 

Read the full article here.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD visits the Whispering Hope Centre (photographs by Nyema Droma Photography)

The Irish Times – Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny TD Visits IWSSN to Meet Magdalene Laundry Survivors

The Irish Times reported on the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD’s visit to IWSSN’s Whispering Hope Centre, based in Kentish Town, London. The Taoiseach visited Whispering Hope to find out more about the support it has provided for Survivors living in the UK, and to meet with Magdalene Laundry Women who have benefited from the support offered by the Centre and financial awards from the Irish Department of Justice and Equality via the Restorative Justice Scheme.

Reporting on the visit, The Irish Times said:

 

“The ‘Whispering Hope’ project has helped British-based survivors, 76 in all which use its services, benefit from the restorative justice and recompense scheme that was put in place by the Government.

The driving forces behind the campaign for 15 years have been Cllr Sally Mulready and Phyllis Morgan. Ms Mulready said the project has been highly successful and many of the women were now at a stage where they wanted to move forward.

“They owe it to their children and grandchildren to move forward. The focus is on reconciliation and – it’s an old-fashioned word but an important one – forgiveness.”

She said Mr Kenny’s apology to the Dáil had removed the stigma that had been carried by many of the Magdalen survivors.

Talking to the group Mr Kenny said that many spoke of the apology allowing them to reclaim their heritage and their country. But he said that the kindness of the women and their experiences had been a powerful force in redeeming and restoring the State, making it a better place.

Referring to his four-hour meeting with the women in the Irish embassy in London at the time, he referred in particular to the women singing the song ‘Whispering Hope’ to him.

“I have to say to those that one of the most powerful impacts in my career in politics has been when I met with you that day [and]the singing of ‘Whispering Hope’… It has become the anthem of the Magdalen women.”

Mary Currington, who was brought up in orphanage and was then sent into a Magdalen Laundry in Cork at the age of 18 said: “Our stories were too long inside of us. A lot of people in Ireland shut their ears about what happened behind those high walls.”

She said all that had changed when Mr Kenny apologised on behalf of the State. “I was there in the Dáil when he made the apology. I feel very privileged to have been there. We felt that the warmth from him and the emotion he expressed when he read the apology,” she said.

Ms Currington came over the Bedfordshire seven months after leaving the Magdalen and made a new life for herself, becoming a mother and grandmother. In a hand-written letter delivered to Mr Kenny she wrote: “You changed the lives of so many Magdalen ladies the day you made the apology to the nation. It was a very emotional day which we will never forget. You gave us the courage to open up about what went in our past lives.””

 

Read the full article here.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD visits the Whispering Hope Centre (photographs by Nyema Droma Photography)

The Irish Times – Enda Kenny TD says meeting Magdalene survivors had biggest impact in his career

The Irish Times reported on the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD’s visit to IWSSN’s Whispering Hope Centre, based in Kentish Town, London. The Taoiseach visited Whispering Hope to find out more about the support it has provided for Survivors living in the UK, and to meet with Magdalene Laundry Women who have benefited from the support offered by the Centre and financial awards from the Irish Department of Justice and Equality via the Restorative Justice Scheme.

Talking to the group Mr Kenny recalled his four-hour meeting with the women in the Irish embassy in London four years ago. He referred specifically to the women singing the song Whispering Hope to him.

“One of the most powerful impacts in my career in politics has been when I met with you that day [and] the singing of Whispering Hope,” he said.

Read the full article here.

 

 

 

Enda Kenny TD reflects on state apology to Magdalene Laundry Women (Nyema Droma Photography)

The Irish Times – Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny TD Visits Whispering Hope

The Irish Times reported on the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD’s visit to IWSSN’s Whispering Hope Centre, based in Kentish Town, London. The Taoiseach visited Whispering Hope to find out more about the support it has provided for Survivors living in the UK, and to meet with Magdalene Laundry Women who have benefited from the support offered by the Centre and financial awards from the Irish Department of Justice and Equality via the Restorative Justice Scheme.

Reporting on the visit, The Irish Times said:

“Earlier, Mr Kenny visited the Irish Women’s Survivors Support Network office in Kentish town, where he met survivors of the Magdalen Laundries, some for the first time since he issued a formal State apology to the women in an emotional speech in the Dáil in 2012

The Whispering Hope project has helped British-based survivors. A total of 76 women have used its services to access the Government-sponsored restorative justice and recompense schemes.

The driving force behind the campaign for 15 years has been Cllr Sally Mulready and Phyllis Morgan.

Ms Mulready said the project has been highly successful and many of the women were now at a stage where they wanted to move forward.

“They owe it to their children and grandchildren to move forward. The focus is on reconciliation and – it’s an old-fashioned word but an important one – forgiveness.”

She said Mr Kenny’s apology to the Dáil had removed the stigma carried by many of the Magdalen survivors.

Talking to the group Mr Kenny recalled his four-hour meeting with the women in the Irish embassy in London four years ago. He referred specifically to the women singing the song Whispering Hope to him.

“One of the most powerful impacts in my career in politics has been when I met with you that day [and] the singing of Whispering Hope,” he said.”

Read the full article here.