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Thread: Magdalene asylums

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    Default Magdalene asylums

    Watched "Magdalene Sisters" some months ago. Had a couple of questions, and could not find anyone who knows the answer yet. (Of course I realize any movie may well deviate from the truth)

    - According to the movie, women clearly above 16 would be held involuntarily. What was the legal basis for that?

    - A possibly more tricky one... As some inmates would eventually gain freedom and move to the UK, surely a good Northern journalist could get his hands on the information. And there were more than enough forces in the North who would gladly publish anything dirty about RC actions in Ireland. In fact, this kind of stuff could be turned against the somewhat hippy-style strand of Republicans in the 70s and onwards - "there's your freedom". A potent Unionist propaganda weapon - which apparently failed to materialize. Why? What prevented the Belfast Telegraph and the like from launching the "PR" attack that, eventually, came in the 90s?

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    Default Re: Magdalene asylums

    Any chance of a few links about this?
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    Politics.ie Member merle haggard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Magdalene asylums

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelR
    Watched "Magdalene Sisters" some months ago. Had a couple of questions, and could not find anyone who knows the answer yet. (Of course I realize any movie may well deviate from the truth)

    - According to the movie, women clearly above 16 would be held involuntarily. What was the legal basis for that?

    - A possibly more tricky one... As some inmates would eventually gain freedom and move to the UK, surely a good Northern journalist could get his hands on the information. And there were more than enough forces in the North who would gladly publish anything dirty about RC actions in Ireland. In fact, this kind of stuff could be turned against the somewhat hippy-style strand of Republicans in the 70s and onwards - "there's your freedom". A potent Unionist propaganda weapon - which apparently failed to materialize. Why? What prevented the Belfast Telegraph and the like from launching the "PR" attack that, eventually, came in the 90s?
    most likely the kincora scandal in the north and the embarassment factor for both unionist politicians and British intelligence . Not to mention the British states desire to keep the catholic hierarchy onside and to ensure respect for the southern states instituions was not undermined . It should beremembered that senior nuns were inviting british army officers on tours of ther falls road schools and those same army oficers spent most of the 1970s urging irish people to listen to their preists . didnt make sense to undermine them .

    a more important question would be why the Unionist owned Irish Times didnt highlight the issue much earlier

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    Default Re: Magdalene asylums

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelR
    According to the movie, women clearly above 16 would be held involuntarily. What was the legal basis for that?
    The "legal basis" was the willingness of the Gardaí to collaborate with the imprisonment of these women. That's all that was needed.

    Incidentally the State still officially maintains that they weren't held involuntarily. The Magdalene laundries were largely excluded from the institutional abuse redress scheme - on the basis that the women didn't "have" to be there.

    A possibly more tricky one... As some inmates would eventually gain freedom and move to the UK, surely a good Northern journalist could get his hands on the information. And there were more than enough forces in the North who would gladly publish anything dirty about RC actions in Ireland. In fact, this kind of stuff could be turned against the somewhat hippy-style strand of Republicans in the 70s and onwards - "there's your freedom". A potent Unionist propaganda weapon - which apparently failed to materialize. Why? What prevented the Belfast Telegraph and the like from launching the "PR" attack that, eventually, came in the 90s?
    They probably thought it was a good idea. Don't make the mistake of assuming that because unionists aren't Catholic means they're any less reactionary on gender and sexuality issues.

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    Politics.ie Member Aindriu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Magdalene asylums

    The whole Magadalene scenario was a very dark age in Irelands history. The way young women were treated in those times was disgusting. The reform schools were no better.
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    Default Re: Magdalene asylums

    "Magdalene Sisters" was a good movie but really only scratched the surface. In some ways Peter Mullan had to water down some of the facts for commercial 'acceptability' purposes. Anyone interested in finding out more about the scandalous incarceration of women in Ireland should also try to see the BBC/Channel 4 co-production, 'Sinners'... or the Channel 4 documentary "Sex in a Cold Climate".. I've seen it, but its interesting to note that RTE have refused on more than one occasion to show it. I'm delighted to see this subject coming up on this site, as it is a political issue - For decades the abuse and ill-treatment of these women was either denied, excused or covered up by the pillars of society - the Church, the Government Departments responsible and the Gardai, who regularly detained and returned women to the laundries. The 'Maggies' were also buried in unmarked graves, and many of them lost their children - the kids were adopted both here and (illegally) in the USA, without their mothers consent. RTE reporter Mike Millotte is the author of an outstanding (and frightening) book on the issues.. especially the USA adoptions. Before anyone asks me if I can back up my claims, I most certainly can. A number of years ago I interviewed an American woman who traced her Irish mother - only to discover that she was kept in a Maggie Laundry for 42 years - despite the fact that she had a loving family who wanted to take her home.

    I'm in hobby horse territory here, folks..

    By the way - the last Maggie Laundry in Ireland only closed in 1996
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    Politics.ie Member Aindriu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Magdalene asylums

    Have the State and Catholic Church ever apologised publicly for the whole situation?
    The last one closed in 1996!!!!!!!!!???????? That is only 12 years ago!!!! Disgusting!
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    Default Re: Magdalene asylums

    Quote Originally Posted by corkscribe
    "Magdalene Sisters" was a good movie but really only scratched the surface. In some ways Peter Mullan had to water down some of the facts for commercial 'acceptability' purposes. Anyone interested in finding out more about the scandalous incarceration of women in Ireland should also try to see the BBC/Channel 4 co-production, 'Sinners'... or the Channel 4 documentary "Sex in a Cold Climate".. I've seen it, but its interesting to note that RTE have refused on more than one occasion to show it. ...

    Rather than relying on movies and/or television documentaries, it is worth reading James M. Smith's Ireland's Magdalen Laundries and the Nation's Architecture of Containment

    Amazon blurb:

    Ireland's Magdalen Laundries and the Nation's Architecture of Containment connects Ireland s Magdalen laundries and the nation-state's nativist politics in the post-independence era, while critically evaluating cultural representations of the Magdalen laundries that have, over the past fifteen years, recovered these institutions from the amnesia at the center of state politics. The first half of the book explores the relationship between the Magdalen laundries and the nation's architecture of containment, which rendered invisible segments of the population (e.g., illegitimate children, single mothers, the sexually promiscuous, etc.) who contradicted the state s constitutional vision for a newly independent Ireland. The book interrogates available archival resources, including government reports, legislative debates, and court cases, to assert that the state was always an active agent in the operation and function of the nation s Magdalen homes. The second half of the book considers a wide range of creative works that help imagine and give narrative form to the Magdalen experience: commercial, independent documentaries, photography and literary representations. Recent cultural reenactments, Smith argues, contribute to the emergence of an alternative national narrative that finally incorporates the women effaced by the nation s containment culture. Ultimately, the book contends that Ireland s Magdalen institutions chiefly exist in the public mind at the level of story (cultural representation and survivor testimony) rather than history (archival history and documentation).
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    Default Re: Magdalene asylums

    Quote Originally Posted by "Utopian Hermit MonkRather than relying on movies and/or television documentaries, it is worth reading James M. Smith's [i
    Ireland's Magdalen Laundries and the Nation's Architecture of Containment [/i]


    A good book - if a little 'inaccessible'.. ie ... somewhat deep and academic in its style.. I merely recommended the documentaries as a good base to start.. as for myself, I can number the daughters of three Maggies among my close friends.. so in some ways, I've had a better grounding than many in the basics..
    news - something that somebody, somewhere, doesn't want made public

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    Default Re: Magdalene asylums

    Quote Originally Posted by Aindriu
    Have the State and Catholic Church ever apologised publicly for the whole situation?
    The last one closed in 1996!!!!!!!!!???????? That is only 12 years ago!!!! Disgusting!
    Not in as many words, No. That last laundry, by the way, was in inner City Dublin, and one or two of its former inhabitants still live on the premises. Others live at a convent in Cork, having spent their lives at the Good Sheperd Laundry in the City. All are completely institutionalised. It's a scandal - and one that still has not been addressed with any conviction
    news - something that somebody, somewhere, doesn't want made public

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