“Reflect here upon their lives”

Survivor's Who Stand Together

 

“Reflect here upon their lives”

Meadbh Gallagher examines the controversy behind the Goldenbridge orphanage, the Magdalene laundries and other church institutions for women and children.

Today, if you walk into the centre of Stephen’s Green, just to the right of where a magnolia is stretching in full blossom sits a new wooden bench. On it is a metal plaque inscribed with small faceless heads and the words: “To the women who worked in the Magdalene laundry institutions and to the children born to some members of those communities – reflect here upon their lives.”

In his autobiography, Pat Tierney explains that for the greater part of this century, the state paid the churches to keep people in institutions, “usually situated behind high stone walls”. The Magdalene laundries were just part of the structure of orphanages, industrial schools and asylums catering for the needs of this mass internment policy. Thousands…

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