08 March 2017

The revelation in the Tuam babies case are truly appalling.  They are beyond belief in terms of the horrific treatment of women and their babies in circumstances of detention overseen by the State.  It is one of the darkest secrets of our recent history.  But how many more dark secrets are still hidden in the dozens of mother and baby homes throughout the country. 

Each home requires an urgent and thorough physical examination before further erosion of sites occur.  We owe it to those women and children to find out and reveal to the world what happened to them. 

A suitable national memorial should be put in place.  In the mid-1990s a memorial plaque was erected in St Stephen’s Green, and launched by President Mary Robinson.  Today on International Women’s Day, it is appropriate to determine to establish a national memorial which would function as a museum and a permanent reminder of those grim days. 

The recent Taskforce Report on the North East Inner City compiled by Kieran Mulvey recommends “retaining a memorial to those who worked in the Magdalene laundry” as part of the refurbishment of the Magdalene Convent lands and buildings in Sean McDermott Street. 

Dublin City Council which now owns these lands has long stated its intention to provide some form of memorial/museum on the site.  It should now engage with survivors and families of the Magdalene women and children to prepare a suitable memorial.  

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