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Thread: Justice for the Magdalenes may not be far off

  1. #16

    Default Magdalene Survivors in UN Plea

    The Irish Times - Saturday, April 23, 2011
    Magdalene survivors in UN plea
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    PAMELA DUNCAN

    THE UN Commission Against Torture has received a submission claiming Magdalene laundry survivors continue to suffer due to the Government’s failure to apologise, investigate and compensate them.

    Survivor advocacy group Justice for Magdalenes has asked the UN committee to examine whether Ireland is meeting its human rights obligations in relation to women who spent time in these institutions.

    The 47-page submission, which includes personal testimonies from Magdalene survivors, points towards Ireland’s legal duties under the convention against torture to investigate allegations of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and to ensure redress for the victims of such treatment.

    Maeve O’Rourke, author of the submission and a Harvard Law School global human rights fellow, said international process “offers Ireland a chance to show the world that it is serious about putting right the mistakes of its past and ensuring a better and more equal future for all, including those who were so unjustly treated by the State in decades gone by”.

    The submission claims Ireland has a legal duty under the convention to promptly and impartially investigate allegations of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and to ensure redress.

  2. #17
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    Default Re: Justice for the Magdalenes may not be far off

    From Shatter's statement on the matter; "As outlined to the House in that Debate, the assessment raises issues for a range of Government Departments as well as for the four religious congregations who operated the Magdalen institutions."

    Thats a peculiar thing to say. Who gives a ***** about what issues it raises for the wretched orders who ran the Magdalene laundries? Its like hearing someone stand up at Nuremberg and outline that there might be issues 'as well as for the Gestapo'.

    Screw the religious orders involved. The only people who care about them are nutcases.
    Think National. Act Local. Oh- and superstition is just the dark matter of human history.

  3. #18

    Default Re: Justice for the Magdalenes may not be far off

    The Irish State seems incapable of focusing on individual citizens' rights (Magdalene survivors) when it involves the Catholic Church. Minister Shatter's comments echo those of Dermot Ahern during the Adjournment Debate on the night that the Irish Human Rights Commission published its Assessment, which called on the state to institute an official inquiry into human rights violations in the Magdalene laundries.

    Of course, Dermot Ahern did not speak for himself ... rather he sent Martin Manseragh into to the Dail to read comments prepared for Ahern by the Dept of Justice.

    The most objectionable line on the night was the following:

    "In this House, we have to respect the rights of those who have suffered abuse but there also has to be some regard to the constitutional rights of those accused of wrongdoing."

    The whole objectionable speech can be found at:
    http://www.kildarestreet.com/debates...dalene#g401.12

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    Default Re: Justice for the Magdalenes may not be far off

    Quote Originally Posted by smithsligo View Post
    The Irish State seems incapable of focusing on individual citizens' rights (Magdalene survivors) when it involves the Catholic Church. Minister Shatter's comments echo those of Dermot Ahern during the Adjournment Debate on the night that the Irish Human Rights Commission published its Assessment, which called on the state to institute an official inquiry into human rights violations in the Magdalene laundries.

    Of course, Dermot Ahern did not speak for himself ... rather he sent Martin Manseragh into to the Dail to read comments prepared for Ahern by the Dept of Justice.

    The most objectionable line on the night was the following:

    "In this House, we have to respect the rights of those who have suffered abuse but there also has to be some regard to the constitutional rights of those accused of wrongdoing."

    The whole objectionable speech can be found at:
    http://www.kildarestreet.com/debates...dalene#g401.12
    Those accused of wrong doing include the State, that colluded with the actions of the Church.

    Proper payment of money due for unpaid work, and pensions, should be a matter of course. Compensation for loss of liberty, where people were prevented from leaving and for any other offences, should also be paid.

    It's more than a money issue though, there are issues of social equality and abuse of power.
    Last edited by C. Flower; 23-04-2011 at 02:41 PM.

  5. #20
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    Default Re: Justice for the Magdalenes may not be far off

    Quote Originally Posted by smithsligo View Post
    The Irish State seems incapable of focusing on individual citizens' rights (Magdalene survivors) when it involves the Catholic Church. Minister Shatter's comments echo those of Dermot Ahern during the Adjournment Debate on the night that the Irish Human Rights Commission published its Assessment, which called on the state to institute an official inquiry into human rights violations in the Magdalene laundries.

    Of course, Dermot Ahern did not speak for himself ... rather he sent Martin Manseragh into to the Dail to read comments prepared for Ahern by the Dept of Justice.

    The most objectionable line on the night was the following:

    "In this House, we have to respect the rights of those who have suffered abuse but there also has to be some regard to the constitutional rights of those accused of wrongdoing."

    The whole objectionable speech can be found at:
    http://www.kildarestreet.com/debates...dalene#g401.12
    It's their mindset that STILL amazes me - and has amazed me since 1958. Not even the flawed but devastating Ryan Report has been able to change this mindset!
    Give me a misty day, pearly gray, silver, silky faced, wide-awake crescent-shaped smile

  6. #21
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    Default Re: Justice for the Magdalenes may not be far off

    There are still church agents at work in the Irish civil service I know that for sure. As for Ministers and their little whimpers in public statements they are easy enough to read- they want to be sure of a prominent seat at the Hugely Optimistic Eucharistic Congress next year.

    And of course vague mooings of sympathy for the Magdalene women are cheap. Cheaper than action which is always appealing to a politician.
    Think National. Act Local. Oh- and superstition is just the dark matter of human history.

  7. #22

    Default Re: Justice for the Magdalenes may not be far off

    See related Blog Post on this issue on the PW Blog

    http://itsapoliticalworld.wordpress....ntinued-abuse/

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    Default Re: Justice for the Magdalenes may not be far off

    Quote Originally Posted by smithsligo View Post
    See related Blog Post on this issue on the PW Blog

    http://itsapoliticalworld.wordpress....ntinued-abuse/
    It is simply outrageous that nothing has been done. I would like to know the position of every political party on this.

    The contrast between this, and the payments to senior civil servants and to bankers, is quite obscene.

  9. #24
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    Default Re: Justice for the Magdalenes may not be far off

    I noticed yesterday that there is a new papal awardee in Ireland who happens to work for the Department of Social Protection of all the ironic job descriptions- a Fidelma Rogers has joined Bertie Ahern as a member of the Constantinian Order of St George no less. I'd like to know what she did to earn that gong.

    Her name goes on the list of suspicious civil servants along with a senior lady in Dept of Education of people I regard as having uncertain loyalties. Anyone in the Irish civil service accepting papal gongs in the current environment needs to be regarded with a certain amount of suspicion in my book.

    She of course was Asst Private Secretary to Bertie Ahern.

    http://www.constantinian.org.uk/dele...f-saint-george
    Think National. Act Local. Oh- and superstition is just the dark matter of human history.

  10. #25

    Default New York__Irish Central/Irish Voice Article on Magdalene Laundries

    Magdalene survivors seek recognition with United Nations Committee Against Torture
    Survivors seek recognition and voice their concerns
    By
    CATHY HAYES
    ,
    IrishCentral.com Staff Writer

    Published Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 7:45 AM
    Updated Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 7:45 AM


    Archive photography of young girls outside a Magdalene Laundry

    An advocacy group for the survivors of the Magdalene laundry has made a submission to the United Nations Committee Against Torture.

    For the first time the UN Committee plans to examine Ireland with relations to human rights obligation to prevent torture, other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. They will meet on May 23rd and 24th.

    Justice for Magdalenes, advocacy group, wants to draw the Committee's attentions to Ireland's legal duties under the Convention Against Torture, have them investigate allegations of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and to ensure redress for the victims of such treatment.

    Maeve O'Rourke, author of JFM's submission, and Harvard Law School 2010 Global Human Rights Fellow, said "The submission highlights the continuing degrading treatment that the women who spent time in Magdalene Laundries are suffering today because of the government's ongoing failure to apologize, investigate and compensate for the abuse.

    For almost two years JFM has worked with various government departments advocating for survivors’ needs.

    Chair of the Irish Women’s Support Network, London, and Member of JFM’s Advisory Committee, Councillor Sally Mulready, said "The women were deprived of their liberty, and forced into a form of penal and religious servitude. Compelled to work in the harshest of conditions, they never knew if they would ever again see the outside world again.”

    Professor James Smith, Member of JFM’s Advisory Committee, added “we have waited nearly six months for the government’s response to the Irish Human Rights Commission’s unambiguous recommendation to initiate a statutory inquiry on this issue…Simply put, some of these women may not have another six months to wait. The time for action is now!”

    The submission of this report coincides with the airing of a Joe Duffy documentary on RTE's Radio One (the national broadcaster). A woman who spent her life in institutions in Ireland, including the Magdalene laundry spoke on "Were You There".

    Mary Smith's mother was brought to the laundry while pregnant with her. She said that she finds it utterly impossible to forgive those responsible. She said "there is no God . . . Jesus had it easy . . . I would have preferred being crucified to what I’ve been through”.

    Read more: Irish Attorney General to examine Magdalene Laundries report

    http://www.irishcentral.com/news/-Ma...120689114.html

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    Default Re: Justice for the Magdalenes may not be far off

    After assessing documents presented to them by the Justice for Magdalene’s group, the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) found there "was clear state involvement in women’s entry to the laundries" and the state may have breached international human rights law by failing to stop these women being "held in servitude".

    The IHRC also concluded the state involvement may have breached international law.

    "These secretive institutions should have been inspected, but the state instead washed its hands of these vulnerable, trapped young women," Olive Braiden, Ireland's human rights commissioner, said in an interview.

    The Magdalene Laundries where a network of 10 Catholic operated workhouses in Ireland which existed from the 1920s to mid-1990s. Women were remanded in the laundries by courts, religious bodies or their own families. Many women who conceived children out of wedlock were banished to the laundries and forced to give up their children for adoption after birth.

    Many of the woman housed in the institutions were subjected to verbal and physical abuse while they worked in the privately run laundry facilities.
    It would be a grave matter to leave these women without proper redress. Not in any way good for the "state of the nation".

  12. #27

    Default Irish Times_Decision due soon on Magdalene homes report

    The Irish Times - Wednesday, April 27, 2011
    Decision due soon on Magdalene homes report

    PAMELA DUNCAN

    THE GOVERNMENT will make a decision after Easter on a report on women who spent time in the Magdalene laundries, according to Minister of State Kathleen Lynch.

    Ms Lynch, Minister of State for Disability, Equality and Mental Health, said she had spoken to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and that a decision on the recommendations contained in an Irish Human Rights Commission report last year would be made after the Easter recess.

    Magdalene homes were institutions for “fallen women” who broke the conventions of society by bearing a child out of wedlock. Some of these women have made allegations of abuse against these mainly church-run institutions, the last of which in Dublin was shut in 1996.

    The commission recommended the Government establish a statutory inquiry into the treatment of women and girls in the laundries. It also recommended that redress be provided as appropriate. The laundries did not come under the Residential Institutions Redress Board.

    Ms Lynch said she did not know what decision would be reached by the Government in relation to the report, adding the issue of women who spent time in the Magdalene laundries had to be dealt with.

    “We can’t deny them until they die. We have to find a way to deal with this whole issue . . . a solution which is satisfactory for the women involved and for the State.”

    Previous governments held that the Magdalene aundries were privately owned and operated, meaning they did not come under State responsibility, something which the advocacy group Justice for Magdalenes disputes.

    “The fact that the laundries were private institutions did not absolve the State of responsibility to protect the women and girls within the laundries from the abuse they endured at the hands of religious orders,” said Prof James Smith, of the group and Boston College.

    The United Nations Committee Against Torture will next month examine a submission made to it by the advocacy group, which claims that Magdalene laundry survivors continued to suffer due to the government’s ongoing failure to apologise, investigate and compensate them.

    The submission claims Ireland has a legal duty under the Convention Against Torture to promptly and impartially investigate allegations of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and to ensure redress for the victims of such treatment.

    CASE STUDY: 'I'M NOT LOOKING FOR ANY HUGE SUM OF MONEY'

    THE FORMER Magdalene offers her apologies. Her real name cannot be printed, she explains. Despite the passing of more than 50 years – and the fact she now lives more than 3,000 miles away from the Irish village in which she grew up – she fears her story will bring shame on her relatives.

    “Even to this day there are some of the older people my age who would say, ‘You must have done something to deserve to go in there’,” she says.

    Róisín (not her real name) was “not quite seven” when her mother died. Her father remarried and, when she was 14, brought her to the nearest Magdalene laundry.

    “At 14 I was in front of a great big mangle – I had blisters on my hand from the hot sheets coming out of it,” the now 76-year-old recalls. “It was slave labour. If there was a holiday coming up we’d have to work six and seven days a week and late at night.”

    She recalls one occasion when a nun accused her of talking out of turn. Róisín denied it and called the nun a liar. “She put me in this room . . . and that was it for 48 hours; no food, no water, no toilet.”

    After four years she was allowed to leave. Because she did not receive a high enough level of education to become a nurse, she left for England, where she began her training, later travelling to the US, where she qualified.

    Róisín says she was neglected by the State as a child because she was essentially enslaved in the laundry, adding that, at the very least, the State had a responsibility to inspect such institutions.

    “The Government are burying their heads in the sand . . . They are dilly-dallying, because in 10 years’ time we’ll all be dead and this will no longer be hanging over their heads. I’m not looking for any huge sum of money or looking to drain anyone. I’m just looking for compensation for the four years I was there and I would like those four years to go towards my pension.”

    – PAMELA DUNCAN


    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/...295545433.html

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    Default Re: Justice for the Magdalenes may not be far off

    I've just been reading the Assessment of the Irish Human Rights Council, which is a short, but very informative report. Just to give a very rough idea of what was involved...

    “According to the 1911 Census, there were 1,094 women recorded at the ten Magdalene asylums that would continue to operate after Irish independence. In 1956, the Irish Catholic Directory and Almanac reported a capacity for 945 women at these
    same institutions. Between 1926 and 1963, we know that the courts referred at least 54 women to Catholic Magdalene laundries (a further 4 women were sent to the Protestant Bethany Home). We know that in March 1944 there were 19 women “On Probation” at laundries and other religious convents. We also know the numbers of Magdalenes buried in mass graves around this country:… 101 at the Gloucester Street plot in Glasnevin, 72 Consecrated Magdalenes as the Sisters of Mercy Foster Street convent in Galway (Galway’s
    ordinary “penitent: class are buried at Bohermore cemetery), 241 at the Good Shepherd plot at Mount St Laurence Cemetery in Limerick, 72 at the Sisters of Charity plot at St. Finbarr’s Cemetery in Cork…”,
    http://www.magdalenelaundries.com/ne...etter_v1_4.pdf
    See also Joe Humphries, “Magdalen plot had remains of 155 women”, The Irish Times (21 August 2003), referring to the exhumation (and cremation of all but one) of 155 bodies of Magdalene women from a grave site at High Park Magdalene Laundry in Drumcondra in 1993 have been resident in that institution.”

    On 5 May 2010, the Minister for Education stated: “My Department has reviewed the records available in an attempt to identify the incidence of residents being referred to laundries from industrial and reformatory schools.

    This review identified 261 references of referrals. Of these 3 referrals were to Magdalen laundries (one each to Galway, Limerick and Donnybrook); 95 were to convent laundries, 102 to school laundries and 61 to other laundries. The number of laundries involved is unclear as some locations are listed as school, convent and other laundries.”
    Women worked 6 and in some cases 7 days a week, unpaid, and unable to leave, in very arduous and unsafe working conditions, were not allowed to use their own names and were treated as criminals. Some of them were very young, children, when they were sent to the laundries.

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    Default Re: Irish Times_Decision due soon on Magdalene homes report

    [quote=smithsligo;141851]The Irish Times - Wednesday, April 27, 2011
    Decision due soon on Magdalene homes report


    THE GOVERNMENT will make a decision after Easter on a report on women who spent time in the Magdalene laundries, according to Minister of State Kathleen Lynch.

    Ms Lynch, Minister of State for Disability, Equality and Mental Health, said she had spoken to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and that a decision on the recommendations contained in an Irish Human Rights Commission report last year would be made after the Easter recess.
    It seems to me that it's urgent that people get their views across to Alan Shatter and Kathleen Lynch, if they believe that these women should get redress and be paid for their unpaid work.

    email Shatter - [email protected] and Lynch [email protected]


    Also, I think that there should be no gagging orders, as there were with previous redress boards, that threaten people who take part with severe punishment if they told their stories publicly.
    Last edited by C. Flower; 27-04-2011 at 04:58 AM.

  15. #30
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    Default Re: Justice for the Magdalenes may not be far off

    I truly, truly hope that the goalposts are in sight, Andrew. We await this decision with bated (and hopeful) breath! And major kudos to Kathleen Lynch for remaining such a stalwart supporter.

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