The Irish Catholic Hammer-Lock on Ireland
We here in Ireland have a cancer within—very close to the Irish Government that’s growing. It’s growing daily. It’s compounding. It grows geometrically now because it compounds itself. Well, it’s at least premature, and quite possibly an exaggeration, to say that the Irish Catholic Church is a cancer on the Irish People, but at the very least it is a high-grade raging fever, the kind that frequently warns of serious infections. Does this fever break soon or does it linger, and what does it portend.
The Good Shepherd Magdalene Laundry in Limerick City at the corner of Pennywell Road and Old Clare Street in Limerick City. The building which now houses the very recently renovated Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) The Magdalene Laundry opened its doors in 1848, The Good Shepherd Institution continued its operations in Clare Street until 1990. The complex consisted of a commercial laundry, an industrial school, a reformatory school for girls, an orphanage, convent and church. 1000's of women and children passed through this building during its lifetime as aMagdalene Laundry. Tens of thousands of women were kept against their will in the 10 or 11 Magdalene Laundries in Ireland run by four religious congregations between 1922 and 1996.
The Magdalene Laundry in Limerick City held over 120 women and their children every year since 1922-1996. The Irish State gave lucrative laundry contract to this Laundry Institution, which included washing the laundry of the entire Limerick Army Barracks. Half of the girls and women incarcerated in the Magdalene Laundry in Limerick City were under the age of 18. The youngest entrant was 7 years old and the eldest was 90. 80% of the girls and women spent more than a year incarcerated in this Magdalene Laundry and its system. Penitents as the Nuns called them were the slave women and children who worked in the Magdalene Laundries and all had to endure a ‘harsh and physically brutal’ work environment with many suffering from ‘confusion and fear’. The Official Report found that 93 Limerick women died at the Good Shepard Laundry in Limerick City during the 60-year span and 15 of these women’s deaths were not registered properly. The true figure was and is much higher, more like 800 to 1,000. The Nuns, The Good Shepherd, deliberately doctored legal documents, and underreported deaths in their Convent, of both Women and their Children.
In a written statement, the Good Shepard Order of Nuns said it ‘sincerely regrets the women’s experienced hurt and hardship, but sidestepped accepting the Women’s and Children’s deaths. The Good Shepherd Nuns continued “We were part of the system and the culture of the time. We acted in good faith providing a refuge. It saddens us deeply to hear that the time spent with us, often as part of a wider difficult experience, has had such a traumatic impact on the lives of these women.
Of course nothing about the good experience of the murder and death of the Women and Children who were beaten and died as a result at the hands of Good Shepard Order of Nun.
"The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable. Atrocities, however, refuse to be buried. Equally as powerful as the desire to deny atrocities is the conviction that denial does not work… Survivors challenge us to reconnect fragments, to reconstruct history, to make meaning of their symptoms in the light of past events."
There were 11 Catholic and two Protestant-run Laundries in The Irish Republic.
1. High Park Convent Laundry, Dublin
2. St. Finbarr's Cemetery, Cork
3. Good Shepherd Laundry, Mount St. Laurence Cemetery, Limerick
4. Mercy Laundry, Galway
5. Good Shepherd Laundry, New Ross, Wexford
6. The Bethany Home, Orwell Road, Rathgar;- Protestant-run
7. 35 Ballsbridge Terrace Laundry, Dublin;- Protestant-run
8. DunLaoghaire Laundry, 12 Crofton Roat, Dublin
9. Donnybrook Laundry, 6 Floraville Road, Pembroke West, Dublin
10. Gloucester Street Laundry, No. 63 Gloucester Street Lower, Dublin
11. Good Shepherd Sundays Well Laundry, Carrignaveigh, Cork
12. Good Shepherd Waterford Laundry, College Street, Waterford
13. St. Joseph’s Orphanage & Industrial School, Cavan Town, Cavan
The last Magdalene Laundry in Ireland ceased operations at Gloucester/Seán MacDermott Street, Dublin in October 1996. It is estimated that over 30,000 women were confined in the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland, another 10,000 girls and women were admitted since Ireland's independence in 1922. The real numbers is more depressing and much higher, for example we do not know how many women resided in the Magdalen institutions after 1900. Vital information about the women's circumstances, the number of women, and the consequences of their incarceration is still unknown. We have no official history for the Magdalene Laundries in 20th. century Ireland. Due to the Catholic Church’s "policy of secrecy", their penitent registers and Convent books remain closed to this day, despite repeated requests for any information. As a direct result of these missing records and the deliberate Catholic Church policy of destroying any and all written records and the religious institutes' commitment to complete secrecy, the Magdalene Laundries can only exist "at the level of story rather than history". Though Ireland's last Magdalene Laundry that imprisoned women closed in 1996, there are no records to account for "almost a full century" of women and children who now "constitute the nation's disappeared", who were "excluded, silenced, and punished”.
A secret ledger as come to light in recent years that listed some of the famous Houses and business names in Ireland, in which the Nuns that ran the Magdalene Laundries had written contracts with famous Irish Institutions of both Government and Business, to launder their laundry.
The list about had written contracts with the Magdalene Laundries for million of pounds at the time, all the contracts which "contain a fair wages clause", but what is now sadly known the slave women and children that worked and died in those wretched Magdalene Laundries did not receive any wages. Owen Felix O’Neill
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