We need a ruthlessly honest debate over the use of slavery in the Religious run Institutions in Ireland, not just in the context of last few centuries, but more recently in Irish history. Slavery was widely practiced and accepted in all the Religious run Institutions in Ireland. Forced Slavery was in use in all The Magdalene Laundries, Industrial Schools, and Orphanages of Ireland. The babies and children of these slaves were often stolen and sold into bondage into other countries far from their homes. Irish slaves and bondage became the economic engine of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Slavery and Trafficking of children were so profitable, for the Catholic Church in Ireland, that it allowed the Church to thrive on its ill gotten gains. With cash crops of Slaves, andTrafficking of stolen babies and children, the Catholic Church in Ireland became the economic engine of the burgeoning Irish State.The Slavery and Trafficking business was a tax free business running into hundreds of millions of dollars. Slavery was so profitable at the time that it allowed the Church to expand both its land holdings and its wealth growth, ex financially.
The Irish slave economy had been very good to the Catholic Church’s prosperity, enslaving women and children became a commercial necessity. Slaves represented the church’s most significant investment and the bulk of their great wealth. The Magdalene Laundries, Industrial Schools, and Orphanages of Ireland, required slave labour to operate their systems. The Magdalene Laundries of Ireland were driven largely by indentured servitude. Most of its human chattel were poor, unmarried mothers taken from both their homes and communities. In exchange for their work, in The Magdalene Laundries, the women and girls received food and shelter, a rudimentary education and sometimes a trade. Slavery was widely acceptable in all Irish Religious Institutions that had become a morally, legally and socially acceptable institution within Ireland.
As more and more unmarried women were used as slaves in The Magdalene Laundries, Industrial Schools, and Orphanages of Ireland, a new industry was born;- The illegal Trafficking of babies and children, these babies and children were inspected and treated like prized animals to be bought and sold to the highest bidder. Adoptive American or English Parents proved an increasingly lucrative enterprise for the enterprising Catholic Church in Ireland. These able-bodied Babies and Children fetched a Premium price in North America. Some adoptees were willing to pay a higher premium price, for what they perceived to be special features, like a red-headed boy or girl, with green eyes or a blond-headed boy or girl with blue eyes. An average price ranged between $2,200-$3,500, plus a monthly service fee of $65 or more. Both the slave labour of women and trafficking of babies and children became so entrenched within the Catholic Church in Ireland that nothing at the time would dislodge it, not even the belief that all men were created equal. Both slavery of women and trafficking of babies and children were the Church’s most profitable business.
Steadily, a near-feudal society emerged in Ireland, at the top was the aristocratic landowning/property elite, known as the Clergy who wielded much of the economic and political power in Ireland. Their Magdalene Laundries, Industrial Schools, and Orphanages of Ireland spanned across the country, controlling the lives of tens of thousands of women slaves and their children. A distorted culture of gentility and high-minded codes of righteous honour emerged within both Irish society and the Irish Church. Slavery and Trafficking had become essential to the continued growth of the powerful Irish Catholic Church’s economy. We need a “brutally honest” reckoning on the Irish Catholic Church’s legacy of forced slavery, forced adoptions, the manner of death in their Institutions, their disposals and the trafficking of both babies and children.
Hundreds of thousands of Irish people were enslaved in these unforgivable Religious run Institutions in Ireland. Though it is impossible to give accurate figures, because the Irish Religious Orders that ran the Gulags of slavery, deliberately destroyed or altered their books, documents and identities of many of the women slaves and their trafficked babies and children. All the Religious run Institutions in Ireland like the Magdalene Laundries, Industrial Schools, and Orphanages depended on slave labour. They couldn’t operate them without the legion of enslaved women and children. The trafficking of both babies and children greatly enriched the Catholic Church in Ireland and that is a fact.
Slavery was passed of as the domestic trade, flourished, and is itself widespread and still used in all the Religious run Institutions of Ireland, not just Magdalene Laundries, Industrial Schools, and Orphanages, but all their Convents, Schools, Colleges, Universities, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Parochial Houses and Palaces. Peculiar institution of slavery remained absolutely vital to the Catholic Church in Ireland and is still used to this very day. The cruelties of the Nuns in particular as slave owners was to make their women slaves completely dependent on them through a system of restrictive codes and institutionalisation.
Many elderly enslaved women still to this day live in Irish Convents, they were prohibited from learning to read and write, and their behaviour and movement were restricted by their captives, the Righteous Religious Orders. The enslaved women to this very day remain committed to the institutionalisation of their shattered lives, encouraged by the Nuns. The Catholic Church in Ireland has a history of long-term institutionalisation of women and children. I speak from experience, sadly my mother, Nora, died a brutal life and death as a slave, at the hand of her brutal tormentors, The Good Shepherd Nuns. I’m the son of a Slave. I never met her, but I felt she was always with me, I was raised as a slave for the first 18 years of my life, in a few of the savagely violent Religious run Gulags of Ireland, as have a few thousand more Survivors who can testify to Irish Slavery.
Both the Catholic Church in Ireland and the Irish Government need to acknowledge this vile trade of slavery and child trafficking that operated freely in all Religious run Institutions in Ireland. Their criminal part in it, and pay immediately Reparations for their joint part in the Slavery of defenceless women and their vulnerable children. This debate is long overdue, world events demand justice now for all Survivors of the Religious run Institutions in Ireland. Owen Felix O’Neill