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Even in death women still held captive.

Byline: ALANA FEARON

EVEN in death, the tragic victims of the Magdalene Laundries were robbed of dignity.

Just as they were denied independence, freedom and basic human rights, these women weren't even afforded the dignity of a proper grave.

Laundry records were so careless and incomplete, many who died were never identified - leaving families with nowhere to go and grieve.

Around 1,000 women were buried in mass plots in cemeteries across Ireland.

After their bodies were exhumed from the mass graves they were dumped in at laundries in Mecklenburgh Street, High Park Convent and Sean Mac Dermott Street in the capital, they were finally afforded some basic dignity and were buried in Glasnevin Glasnevin Cemetery in North Dublin.

Families of some of the tens of thousands of single mothers and other women who were held in the horror laundries, as well as some of the scarred survivors, often visit the mass graves never knowing who exactly is buried there.

But simply having somewhere to go, to remember and to offer up a prayer has somehow healed some of the wounds these blood-money institutions inflicted.

Even sadder still is very often the causes of death were pleurisy and pneumonia - illnesses that could be cured with medical intervention.

Other burial sites have been identified in Mount St Lawrence Cemetery in Limerick, Sunday's Well in Cork and at sites in Galway.

And despite the fact that some of these women died more than a century ago, the cruel reality of their lives and deaths was only truly unveiled 20 years ago.

The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge ran the infamous High Park laundry in Drumcondra, North Dublin, the largest in the country.

In 1993 when they decided to sell off the land the mass grave in the grounds had to be cleared, the bodies cremated and re-buried in Glasnevin.

The true horror of these laundries came to light when it emerged that there were 22 more bodies in the grave than the nuns had listed.

More than a third of the deaths had never been certified and the Sisters didn't even know some of their names.

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GRAVE Mirror girl Alana Fearon at Glasnevin
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Feb 6, 2013
Words:366
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