I have written about this before.
We’ve all read about this before.
We’re heard these stories before. And to be honest, I don’t have the heart today to recount any tales of horror from the Magdalene Laundries.
A year ago a UN Committee Against Torture recommended that the Irish State carry out a long-overdue investigation into the Laundries, with a view to providing redress and compensation to the women who had been “involuntarily confined” in these hellish institutions.
A year after the UN advised Ireland that it should stage an enquiry into nearly 70 years of institutional torture and nothing has happened. Victims have criticised government inaction and still feel that they are being ignored. They haven’t received an apology or any form of reparation.
Minister Shatter (who has promised victims a letter later in the week – generous) has formed an inter-departmental committee to establish the facts of state involvement. Minister Shatter does love his consultations and committees – from laundries, to human trafficking, to abortion – he clearly thinks it’s important to take these things slowly.
And we accept it. We accept that 90 years after these institutions began to operate he still needs to spend over a year having a think. Slow and steady doesn’t win the race. Each day on which these women aren’t acknowledged builds on the abuse they’ve endured. 79-year old Kathleen Legg wrote in The Journal today about her life-long search for justice.
What is wrong with Ireland? How can a political system so saturated with apathy continue to function? How can it claim to be a community?
Shirley Temple Bar tweeted this last week:
“They’re spending €14m on the Eucharistic Congress but they won’t give a penny to those poor women from the Magdalene Laundries. Jesus wept.”
I was skeptical at first; are they really connected? But I realised that they absolutely are. In the next week we are going to allow the Catholic Church to flaunt and fête itself while it remains grossly unrepentant for the atrocities it has committed in Ireland.
So yeah, Jesus wept.