Magdalene victims not buried in Glasnevin location

A memorial to the victims of the Magdalene laundries in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. Picture: Julien Behal/PA

Just 33 out of 187 Magdalene women listed on the headstone for High Park laundry in Glasnevin Cemetery are actually buried at that location, a study claims.

The revelation is contained in the first of series of critiques of the McAleese report planned by Justice For Magdalenes Research (JFMR).

Running to some 66 pages, the report discusses issues around death, institutionalisation of former Magdalene women and research on Magdalene graves and duration of stay.

It reveals that, for 131 women who died in the High Park laundry in Dublin, no trace of their whereabouts can be found in the cemetery’s archives. Of these 131 women, 54 died between 1922 and 1991 when High Park closed — the period covered by the McAleese report.

According to JFMR, just 33 out of 187 women listed on the headstone for High Park laundry are actually buried at that location.

JFMR also discovered more than 100 new names of High Park women, most of whom are buried in unmarked graves at seven locations in Glasnevin. These women died between 1886 and 1999, while 30 died between 1922 and the closure of the laundry in 1991.

JFMR research into the Sean McDermott St laundry records found that 51 women listed on three headstones at a particular location in Glasnevin are not buried at that location, but are interred elsewhere. The vast majority of these women died within the time period covered by the McAleese report.

“Instead of answering questions on the serious issues surrounding deaths in Magdalene Laundries, Chapter 16 of the IDC [McAleese] report gives exclusive attention to the religious orders’ version of events and completely ignores survivor testimony, as well as substantial submissions from JFM raising concerns about the funeral and burial practices in Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries,” says the report.

The study also claims that more than 1,600 women died in Magdalene laundries — more than double the figure cited by the McAleese report.

JFMR’s data lists women who died in the Magdalene institutions between 1835 and 2014, while the McAleese report does not include the number of women who died before 1922 and those who died in the care of the religious orders after the laundry closed.

For the period covered by the McAleese report, JFMR recorded 768 deaths compared to 879 listed by the McAleese report. The group offers a lengthy explanation in the critique for this discrepancy.

“As part of our various submissions to the IDC, JFM supplied all of its research materials and databases of names on Magdalene graves,” said JFMR.

“Despite having this information and access to the records of the religious orders, the IDC nonetheless managed to omit certain deaths from the report and did not identify the discrepancies outlined by JFMR in Section 2 of the critique.”

JFMR also hit out at the McAleese report’s “lack of clarity” on admissions, number of women, and duration of stay in the institutions.

Meanwhile, a number of Magdalene women held a protest outside the the Dáil, claiming that the Government is denying women access to medical cards.

The protest came on the second anniversary of the Taoiseach’s apology to the survivors of Church-run institutions.

Last month, there were calls for a fresh apology to Magdalene laundry victims amid claims the Government had failed to live up to promises made to them.

The Department of Justice was unable to comment on the contents of the report.


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