If you would like to submit a contribution to our Readers Blog section then follow this link. Be sure to include your full name, address and contact number otherwise your submission will not be considered for publication. We will contact you prior to publication.

Magdalene girls were not ‘employees’

I CHALLENGE Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe’s use of the word “employee” in relation to women who were incarcerated in the Magdalene Laundries.

During my years of volunteering with the Justice for Magdalenes group I have had the honour of speaking to many Magdalene survivors about their time in the laundries and not one would describe herself as an “employee”.

I have yet to meet a survivor who said she was paid for her hard work or who said she entered a laundry voluntarily. The State’s abdication of responsibility in relation to the laundries is shameful.

Mr O’Keeffe claims the State was not complicit in referring women to the laundries, yet he acknowledges himself in his letter to Tom Kitt that children were transferred from State-run institutions to them.

O’Keeffe and other elected representatives should examine their consciences and ask themselves if they found in present-day Ireland that women were being incarcerated against their will by the church and forced to work for no pay, would they still allow it to happen?

No decent human being would stand idly, so why should the women incarcerated in the past be treated any differently? In 2003 thousands of postcards were sent to the Government asking for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the exhumation and cremation of the bodies of 155 women from High Park Laundry in suspicious circumstances. Six years later it is as if the incident never occurred.

It wasn’t until the Ryan report, which took 10 years and cost more than €100m to produce, that institutional abuse survivors were believed.

Let us learn from that and give Magdalene survivors the recognition they deserve.

Claire McGettrick



Co Cavan


Need a funny, hopeful read? Hannah Stephenson rounds up the best.10 uplifting books to cheer you up on dark days

Esther N McCarthy put the call out to Irish crafters and grafters this week. Let's support our local makers, all of these are available onlineWish List: Supporting Irish crafters selling online

Shane Johnson takes a look (and listen) at two recent electronic full-lengths.Album reviews: Wajatta and Takeleave provide beats and pieces

As Robin celebrates his 80th birthday, Donal O’Keefe looks at the history of Batman’s sidekick, and how the duo caused an infamous gay scare in HollywoodRobin: All hail the boy wonder

More From The Irish Examiner