Slave labour and she wasn’t even worth the embarrassment of reporting her missing.

Everyone in Irish society needs to face up to evils of the society we created in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Bridget's story is heartbreaking, but there are so many others too. This was the nasty side of De Valera's Ireland that outsiders could barely believe existed. Donal O'Keeffe @Donal_OKeeffe · 13h A lady called … Continue reading Slave labour and she wasn’t even worth the embarrassment of reporting her missing.

Bridget’s Baby #800deadbabies

I had a beautiful Baby Boy, born in Bessborough in 1960 died at 6 weeks, my self lucky to have survived with the same infection, was told a dirty needle. I hadn’t known where my Son was buried until 15 years ago, when I had plucked up enough courage to confront the nuns at Bessborough.

I now know that.

Although I was a so called inmate in Bessborough at the time of his burial, I was not allowed to be at his burial. It breaks my heart not knowing if he was dressed in a gown or even if he was laid in a Coffin.

Having read these horror stories nothing would surprise me. To this day, 54 years after, still trying to come to terms with the horror of it all.

May God forgive them.

Bridget remembers her son who died 54 years ago when she was confined at Bessborough and not allowed to go to her baby’s funeral. Where is the Christianity here?

140 characters is usually enough

From the comments on my blog about the Tuam babies:

I had a beautiful Baby Boy, born in Bessborough in 1960 died at 6 weeks, my self lucky to have survived with the same infection, was told a dirty needle. I hadn’t known where my Son was buried until 15 years ago, when I had plucked up enough courage to confront the nuns at Bessborough.

I now know that.

Although I was a so called inmate in Bessborough at the time of his burial, I was not allowed to be at his burial. It breaks my heart not knowing if he was dressed in a gown or even if he was laid in a Coffin.

Having read these horror stories nothing would surprise me. To this day, 54 years after, still trying to come to terms with the horror of it all.

May God forgive them.

-Bridget.

 

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No country for young women: Honour crimes and infanticide in Ireland

The women themselves served a dual purpose in the Laundries. They were a warning to others what happened when you violated the rule of the Church, and they were financial assets engaged in hard labour on behalf of the Church. They were not waged workers; they did not receive payment. They could not leave of their own free will, and their families, for the most part, did not come for them; the shame on the family would be too great. Ireland had a structure it used to imprison women for being sexual beings, for being rape victims, for not being the pure idolised incubator for patriarchy, for not having enough feminine integrity, or for being simply too pretty for the local priest’s liking. Ireland has a long tradition of pathologising difference.

People did know what went on in those institutions. Their threat loomed large over the women of Ireland for decades. On rare occasions when people attempted to speak out, they were silenced, because the restoration of honour requires the complicity of the community. Fear of what other people will think of the family is embedded in Irish culture.

The concept of honour means different things in different cultures but a common thread is that it can be broken but restored through punishing those who break it. We are familiar with the hegemonic concepts of “honour killing” and “honour crimes” as a named form of violence against women in cultures other than ours. The papers tell us it is not something that people do in the West. Honour killings, and honour crimes are perpetually drawn along racialised lines and Irish and UK media happily present them within the context of a myth of moral superiority.

Feminist Ire

magdalene

When I was in first year in secondary school in 1997, a girl in the year above me was pregnant. She was 14. The only people who I ever heard say anything negative about her were a group of older girls who wore their tiny feet “pro-life” pins on their uniforms with pride. They slagged her behind her back, and said she would be a bad mother. They positioned themselves as the morally superior ones who cared for the baby, but not the unmarried mother. They are the remnants of an Ireland, a quasi-clerical fascist state, that we’d like to believe is in the past, but still lingers on.

The news broke last week of a septic tank filled with the remains of 796 children and babies in Galway. The remains were accumulated from the years 1925 to 1961 and a common cause of death was malnutrition and preventable disease…

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