Jun. 20th, 2011

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Trigger warning for violence against women, including rape and beatings and starvation and torture

Ireland's Magdalene laundries scandal must be laid to rest

Church, family and state were all complicit in the abuse of thousands of women. The UN is right: Ireland must investigate

This week the United Nations Committee Against Torture (Uncat) issued a highly significant statement on the Magdalene laundries. It criticised the Irish government for refusing to acknowledge the pain and abuse suffered by women incarcerated in the laundries, the last of which closed in 1996, and called for a thorough investigation and compensation scheme. In doing so, the UN has focused international attention on what has become a festering injustice.

Ireland has experience of dealing with the sins of its past. A formal apology was issued by the Irish government in 1999 to the tens of thousands of victims of child abuse in the country's vast industrial (residential) school system, run by Catholic nuns, brothers and priests. An exhaustive statutory inquiry produced the damning Ryan report, and a redress scheme has now cost around £1bn.

There has, however, been a strange resistance to any official acceptance of the injustice suffered by the Magdalene women. The state has wriggled and squirmed, claiming that the laundries were private institutions and all the women entered voluntarily. Uncat has now firmly rejected this, confirming what we in Ireland have long known in our hearts. We knew that women who escaped were caught by the police and returned to the punitive and often brutal regime within the laundries. Generations of Irish people colluded in this, using the laundries when it suited them to clean their clothes and control their daughters. MORE




What justice for Ireland’s Magdalenes? Forced labour, now and then

Read more... )

The Magdalene Women

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State apology is only way to express wrong done to Magdalenes

The Irish Times - Monday, June 20, 2011

MARY RAFFTERY

OPINION: Damning information on State’s links to the laundries pops up in surprising places

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(ii) Officials do few favours for Magdalenes

The Irish Times - Saturday, June 18, 2011

It is vital that the person appointed to chair the Magdalenes committee is a formidable character, writes PATSY McGARRY

Read more... )

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