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magdalene survivors

'I think Magdalene survivors should be remembered one day every year'

Around 220 women are in Dublin as part of the Dublin Honours Magdalenes event / YouTube

SURVIVORS OF MAGDALENE institutions have called for the establishment of a museum to teach younger generations.

Around 220 women, now in their 80s are in Dublin as part of the Dublin Honours Magdalenes event and today they spoke to the media about what they would like the legacy of the institutions to be.

Magdalene Laundries were institutions run by the Catholic Church which took in so-called ‘fallen women’ and gave them manual labour to do. Many survivors said they were cruelly and brutally treated during their time there, with reports of women being beaten, put into solitary confinement, their hair cut, threatened, and verbally abused.

Today, many told that what they went through should be formally commemorated.

Theresa O’Connor said this week’s event has helped the women “heal” and talk about what they went through.

Mary Buckley added that the abuse affected women from all across Ireland and should be commemorated in some way.

Maureen Sullivan was in the Good Shepherd’s Convent in New Ross from the age of 12. At the age of 16 she was removed from the Magdalene institutions because she asked for a wage.

She says that she feels that there has “been no proper justice to this day”.

“It should be put in a museum. I think every survivor should be celebrated every year – a day put aside for it every year. I think it should go into history so that generations to come will know what happened.

“I know that the church and state would like (us) to be forgotten, but that’s not going to happen.”

She paid particular tribute to President Michael D Higgins, saying his speech yesterday made many “feel proud to be Irish for the first time”.

Diane Croghan told that the question of a memorial was complicated, but that she was heartened to see that the Irish public had welcomed the survivors to Dublin.

“I really felt at peace this week, with people showing up in front of the Mansion House and how the President spoke. I think this should be closure.

“They can have monuments, if they want, but I wouldn’t expect it off anyone. I just want to be believed and it’s the young people of today who are making this happen.”

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