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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 23 April, 2014

Magdalene survivors call on Catholics to boycott mass this weekend

A group representing survivors of the Magdalene laundries has asked people to withhold donations to their local Catholic church this weekend.

Image: Wanderley Massafelli/Photocall Ireland

SURVIVORS OF THE Magdalene laundries are calling on Catholics to boycott mass this weekend over the refusal of four religious orders to pay financial compensation to the women.

The group Magdalene Survivors Together asked people to stand with them and to withhold donations to local churches as a show of solidarity.

A spokesperson for the group said it was disappointed that the nuns are not contributing financially to a fund set up to provide compensation. The four orders have instead said that they will provide access to their records to allow for claims to be processed, and will continue to provide accommodation for the women who remain in their care.

“We want people to make it clear to the [Catholic] Church that people are not happy with how the women are being treated by the four religious orders who ran Magdalene laundries,” said Steven O’Riordan.

“We need the help and support from the public because it is clear that the Irish Government is totally out of their depth.”

The Taoiseach and Minister for Justice have said that the four religious orders do not legally have give money to the fund set up to compensate survivors of the institutions. However Alan Shatter has said he believes that the four orders have a moral and ethical obligation to contribute.

The four orders involves are the Good Shepherd Sisters, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Charity.

One survivor said it would be a “simple but powerful way” of sending a message to the four congregations.

“Why can’t they do the right thing? Why do they want to make us suffer like this?” asked Marina Gambold. “They made us suffer behind closed doors may years ago and now they are doing it in public that is shocking, disappointing and disgusting.”

Read: Shatter: I can’t go in a tank and force Magdalene orders to pay compensation >

Explainer: How can religious orders refuse to pay compensation to Magdalenes >

Read: Enda Kenny: Religious orders should reflect on making a monetary contribution to Magdalenes >

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