Whispering Hope Centre
An advice service for Survivors of Irish institutional care
Between 2001 and 2014, a sustained and often challenging campaign for justice for Magdalene Laundry women took place both in the UK and Ireland. The history of this campaign and the role played by the women themselves in keeping alive their just cause, is well known. The intervention by the Irish coalition government following representation from a number of groups (including IWSSN) had a significant impact, leading to a number of important legislative and policy initiatives that for the first time recognised that the State had a duty to acknowledge its role in relation to the Magdalene Laundry women. These initiatives included the McAleese Inquiry, and subsequently the report from Judge John Quirke.
After meeting with a group of inspirational Magdalene Laundry women, the Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach), Enda Kenny TD was moved by their stories and understood the sense of injustice these Survivors felt about their ordeals in earlier life. With the promise to set the future straight and acknowledge the failures of successive governments to hear the voices of these women, the Irish Prime Minister made a powerful state apology and invited Justice John Quirke to look into developing a compensation scheme for the Magdalene Women.
The Whispering Hope Centre was set-up in March 2014 as a service for Magdalene laundry women and the wider Survivor community, based in Kentish Town, London. The naming of the centre as Whispering Hope was a special recognition of the Prime Minister’s historic meeting at the Irish Embassy in 2013. The Taoiseach heard a moving rendition of the song ‘Whispering Hope’ which has almost become the anthem of Survivors.