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Thread: Anne Lovett 1968 - 1984

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    Default Anne Lovett 1968 - 1984

    31st January 1984. Ann Lovett, a pregnant 15 year old girl from Granard, Co. Longford, died shortly after giving birth to a child, alone in a grotto to the Virgin Mary, that died soon after birth.

    The sale of contraceptives was illegal in Ireland at the time except to married couples for 'bona fide' family planning purposes.

    The previous year, 1983, saw the introduction of the 'pro-life' amendment to the constitution which sought to outlaw abortion in all circumstances.

    At the time of Ann Lovett's death, hundreds of women wrote to the Gay Byrne Show (Byrne's radio show was then the most listened to radio programme in Ireland, especially by women) to share their experiences of having children out of marriage.

    So many letters were sent to Gay Byrne that he felt compelled to read some of them on air on February 23rd, 1984.

    Letters to Ann will be rebroadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 tomorrow, Saturday, 1st February at 6pm.

    Extracts from some of the letters are published in today's Irish Times.

    An example.

    CARLOW

    ‘My mother never went outside the door after news of my downfall became public’

    In 1972 I found myself expecting. I was 16. I was expelled and disgraced from the Mercy Convent in Carlow town. A priest who visited me told me I would pay for my great sin for the rest of my life. My baby, a boy, was taken from me. I am not allowed to trace him. My own mother died before the child was born. She never went outside the door after news of my downfall became public.

    I accepted all this as part of my punishment. But I am still paying. I cannot relate all the things that happened in my life without breaking down. My point is that I lived after my sin and I’ve been treated as an outcast ever since. All this sorrow would be turned to gossip had Ann lived. Why was there this fear in 1984, [meaning] that Ann could tell no one? When the people of Granard pray before their grotto, pray for us who lived to pay.
    The Ann Lovett letters: sorrow, shame, anger and indignation - People | Popular Stories, Obituaries & More | The Irish Times - Fri, Jan 31, 2014

    This video is from a short film made to the memory of Ann Lovett, 1968 - 1984.

    We do not say that a man who takes no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he has no business here at all.

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    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
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    Fox the Poet: "The Statue of the Virgin at Granard" by Paula Meehan
    It can be bitter here at times like this,
    November wind sweeping across the border.
    Its seeds of ice would cut you to the quick.
    The whole town tucked up safe and dreaming,
    even wild things gone to earth, and I
    stuck up here in this grotto, without as much as
    star or planet to ease my vigil.


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    That poem is so sad.

    I was only in 6th class I think when it happened. I remember having to ask my mother about it because it was all over the news and yet (obviously I suppose) being only whispered about when we were around.
    I still think about her.

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    Politics.ie Member ger12's Avatar
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    Thinking of her today, and her sister.

    I was 12 years of age and it woke me up. I questioned everything after it, the church, peoples attitudes.
    At 12 weeks the “clump of cells” toes curl, her mouth makes sucking movements, she has a human face and if you prod the tummy she will move in response

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    Politics.ie Member amsterdemmetje's Avatar
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    I told my Dutch wife about this tragic story today and when I told her that it happened in 1984 she just couldn't believe it.
    Gemakzucht.

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    A very dark passage in our history.
    History will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.

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    Politics.ie Member Sister Mercedes's Avatar
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    A year after the Pro-Life Amendment was put into the Constitution.

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    Politics.ie Member Frank Galton's Avatar
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    The Daily Mail -- the world's biggest cut-and-paste operation.

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    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
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    In January 1984, Ann Lovett, a fifteen-year-old convent schoolgirl, gave birth outdoors, in a grotto dedicated to the Virgin Mary, in Granard, County Longford. According to postmortem reports, Lovett's baby was stillborn, having died of asphyxia in the process of childbirth. Lovett later died of exposure and hemorrhage after spending over four hours lying on the cold, damp ground, unprotected from the wind and driving rain. Lovett's death shocked and saddened people in her community and throughout the country. Those close to her claimed ignorance of her pregnancy and insisted that every aid would have been extended had they known. An inquest revealed that many people did, in fact, know that Lovett was pregnant but believed it to be none of their business. Rumors circulated through the town that Lovett's pregnancy was the result of incest, although these rumors have never been confirmed. [6] Lovett's pregnancy and death confronted small-town Irish society with a host of issues that were not new in the 1980s: incest, teenage sexuality, and unwed motherhood. What was new in 1984 was the very public way that the community was forced, by one young girl's personal and painful dilemma, to wrestle with how it defined right and wrong, inclusion and exclusion, punished transgressions from the norm, and negotiated the limits of a community's responsibility for its most vulnerable members.
    JSTOR: An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie

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    It is not yet history. Hundreds of thousands of Irish women and men live with the consequences still.
    We do not say that a man who takes no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he has no business here at all.

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