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I am urged by Ms Sheila Griffin to not judge the past by the standards of the present and, rather than question the Catholic institutions that owned the laundries and benefited financially from slave labour, I should look instead at the families of the girls and women incarcerated in the alleged care of the Church.
Ms Griffin claims she holds no brief to defend the Magdalene Laundries and then departs on such a lengthy flight of whataboutery that she wouldn’t look out of place on the Northern Executive.
Whataboutery is a common practice of those who wish to distract from the misdeeds of those they defend.
Typically, this is done by whatabouting the crimes of others. What about the families, asks Ms Griffin?
Invoking the behaviour of families who sent girls to the laundries can never excuse the inhumanity of the nuns who ran those institutions but this is a standard tactic of whataboutery.
Another great trick is to say: “It was all a long time ago. Ireland was very different then. We are all responsible. Therefore, ultimately, no-one is responsible.”
Ms Griffin says we cannot judge the past by the standards of the present.
Fair enough. Could we instead, perhaps, measure the purveyors of Christianity by the standards of Christ?
Brian Boru Grove
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