Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Ireland takes responsibility for enslavement at Magdalene Laundries.

Posted by Charles II on February 5, 2013

This is an issue that Phoenix Woman has covered previously. Thirty thousand women were effectively enslaved by the Catholic Church, with the collusion of the state, and without due process. The Magdalene Laundries were not finally closed until 1996. Now Ireland has stepped up to the plate to admit that the state took part in this travesty.

Harry McDonald, The Guardian:

Ireland has officially recognised the state’s guilt in the “enslavement” of more than 30,000 women, most of whom were sent against their will into church-run institutions where they received no pay, no pension and no social protection.

Labelled the “Maggies”, the women were sent to the Magdalene laundries where they worked for nothing, serving in some cases “life sentences” simply for being unmarried mothers or regarded as morally wayward.

Justice is far from being done. Human justice cannot even come close to remedying the wrongs.


8 Responses to “Ireland takes responsibility for enslavement at Magdalene Laundries.”

  1. Shirt said


    See “Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy,”

    Clean up our own fracking house first. However, if you want to throw more stones at Catholism check out the Castration of dutch youth as a cure for homosexuality,

  2. Thanks for this, Charles.

  3. MEC said

    I note that the article doesn’t say anything about paying compensation to the surviving victims. There must be quite a few, if Magdalene laundries were still in operation in 1996.

    • Stormcrow said

      Of course it didn’t. That would have been something more or less substantive. Instead of the empty words which we all expect will be the ONLY recompense the victims of the Magdalene enslavements will ever be offered.

      But, IMHO, the only way to really apologize for a series of crimes of this scope, ferocity, depth of deliberation, and breadth of effect, would be to eat a shotgun.

  4. MarkH said

    Who wins when a young single broke person steeped in the ‘free market’ theology goes for a job interview with a multi-national billion-dollar corporation? Slavery and our modern economy aren’t that far apart. Sure sure you can quit your job if the boss is terrible or because it doesn’t pay enough. But then what?

    Our economic system has to provide a way for people to receive a goodly part of the value of what they produce. The Right says 50% taxation (fed, state & local combined) is slavery. What is receiving less than 50% of the value of your work?

    When the value of the house a person has put their wealth into drops then somebody had better have some really good reasons and how the whole nation is sharing the pain. When some people get richer as the nation goes toward depression there is a big problem.

    I hope our current Democratic leaders regard the feelings Democrats of the 1960s had, as perhaps exemplified by George McGovern and Bobby Kennedy, and realize there’s more to being free than starving and then being called a taker or worse.

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