Enda Kenny Apologises to Magdalene Victims

It’s good that Enda Kenny has apologised to the Magdalene slaves on behalf of the State, but isn’t something missing?

Where is the apology from the nuns who ran these slave labour camps?  Where is the apology from the NSPCC (now the ISPCC), employers of the feared and unsupervised  cruelty men who consigned so many children and young women to this slavery and to abuse in industrial schools?  Where is the apology from the Legion of Mary, whose members — almost unbelievably — served as unofficial probation officers, facilitating the incarceration of people they disapproved of?  Where is the apology from the Roman Catholic church on behalf of all those parish priests who ripped children from the heart of their families because of some warped and perverted view of sexuality?

I haven’t seen or heard any apology from any of these groupings.

What an extraordinary society it was that deputised an assortment of self-serving busybodies to act on its behalf.  What a strange country that gave (and continues to give) such power to clerics and self-appointed meddlers.

magdalene laundries

It has been said that many of the cruelty men lived a more affluent life than their salaries might indicate, and there is no doubt that every Magdalene slave and industrial school slave was a money-making asset for the religious orders, no matter what their account ledgers might indicate today.  Any business with unlimited access to free labour is doing well.  The nuns and the brothers had unlimited access to such a pool of labour, and it has been said that some cruelty men benefited financially from their gratitude.  It has even been suggested that there was a bounty on a child’s head, which might account for the arrest and conviction of children for robbing an orchard, for missing school, or in the case of young girls, for being a little too pretty.

Now, nobody can doubt that Enda Kenny was sincere in his apology to the Magdalene slaves.  Even though I don’t subscribe to his political outlook, Enda is the ultimate boring embodiment of unimaginative middle-Ireland, and he is a decent man.  But as I said already, that apology is partial at best, given the absence of contrition from all the others complicit in the abuse and incarceration of these women.

The last time a government set up a mechanism for restitution and redress, it was deeply flawed.  The Residential Institutions Redress Board was an intimidating and cold experience for those who came before it and the process provided yet another opportunity for legal firms to make money at the expense not only of the State, but of the victims themselves, through double billing.

Besides that, the abusive religious orders paid little or nothing towards the cost.  Instead, they denied and obfuscated right up to the end and have never shown the slightest genuine remorse for their actions.

The priority must be to support and protect victims of the Magdalene laundries.  Let the State look after them without question, and then, if necessary, let us change our law to limit property rights, just as we did only last week in passing the Anglo legislation.  Let us judge how much the religious orders should contribute to the cost and let us take this money from them whether they like it or not, just as we should have done after the Ryan Report.

Just as this state has always failed to do.




Magdalene laundries and the power of shame

Ryan Report


Child abuse commission


23 thoughts on “Enda Kenny Apologises to Magdalene Victims

  1. Many of these busybodies were motivated by religious conviction; some actually believed that they were saving these women and girls from a worse fate. So our mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts and grandparents were either party to, or stood idly by… just as the German people turned a blind eye or collaborated in the terrible wrongs carried out in their name by the Third Reich.

    We are all to blame as a nation. Many of the members of religious orders involved are now rotting in an incontinent demented state in nursing homes across the country.

    My own belief is that directly or indirectly, our State was quite pleased to have the stormtroopers of the catholic church rigidly control the behaviour and aspirations of the population.

  2. The Church/ religious orders should pay a heavy price; the fear is that the lawyers will swallow up a big chunk of the available assets—–however, one could argue that if these assets were acquired through criminal activities (slavery), CAB have the authority to seize the proceeds and assets of illegal activities of the religious orders–that might be the most cost effective and humiliating way to deal with the orders–and help bring the cringing bastards to their senses. I saw a trailer for Mea Maxima Culpa over the weekend at the cinema and it made me wonder about the timing of Josef Ratzinger’s historic resignation.

  3. I’ve said before how I’ve made friends with survivors of the laundry. I give up hating them. I was physically abused by the brothers, and sexually abused by the brothers. I was pyhsically abused by the nuns, and mentally abused by all of them. My head is fatigued. Still, to this day. I try to live on, and I do, in spite, or TO spite them.

  4. I blame Mr. Eamon DeVelara… he was the root of all this evilness..
    Sure he signed the Catholic Church into power as his right hand men..
    He gave them the keys of the country, Schools, Hospitals etc..
    Everyting that had to be signed into government power (constitution etc) & to be approved, were given to the Catholic Church for them to read through & for them to have their final word on eveything the government wanted to introduce..
    That’s where we have & still have to a certain amount today.. Church & State.. joined at he hip..
    But it is true in what you say Bock in relation to “an apology” from the Catholic Church..
    Sure don’t hold your breath… Didn’t Enda cover them in his Oscar wining statement, I’m sorry on behalf of all the citizens…. so are they covered under that statement..

  5. A couple of points there.

    First, you’ll have to go back to a time long before Devalera if you want to find the roots of religious power in Ireland.

    Second, the Magdalene women appear to be satisfied with the sincerity of Kenny’s speech. Therefore, who are the rest of us to question it?

  6. On your couple of points.. part duex..

    Pt 1.
    I know I have to go back a long time before DeVelara to find roots of religious power in Ireland.. but since foundation of the state, he gave them more power that what they had under British Rule, he basically gave them the run of the place (the country)

    Pt 2.

    I was just stating that, is the apology from the Government, also an apology from the Catholic Church, as they seem to have them covered under the words of “All Citizens”.. & are they covered under that by default… in other words has the Government apologised for them, without the church saying anything…

  7. Re: Enda’s speech. I did not hear the word Compensation. I heard the word Assist. I think there’s a bit of a difference. Also, it is just not right that “the Magdalene women appear to be satisfied”. That philosophy is the same as “half a loaf is better than none”, well it is not good enough. There is right and there is wrong. I noticed that the women were in different groups and I asked: Why? There is no excuse for the half measure.
    The Gov’t screwed up as you pointed out in your statement.
    The Residential Institutions Redress Board was an intimidating and cold experience for those who came before it and the process provided yet another opportunity for legal firms to make money at the expense not only of the State, but of the victims themselves, through double billing.
    What the legal teams did was abuse those poor souls for the second time. Shame. Shame.

  8. I have spoken here before about devaluing women. It’s usually in response to a rape trial. I got sick to my stomach with the story of the rapist on the same train as his victim after the trial, or of the rich person who served little time because he was of such value to the community.
    Magdalenes are in the same boat. If your government and religion is joined at the hip, and that religion’s very, very first story- the one they use to explain/start it all off- demonizes women, well over 50% of us are off to a bad start.
    My family is Fine Gael. I spoke to my Dad yesterday who was delighted with Enda’s tearful apology. I thought it was contrived, sorry.
    An apology for things past is good, now focus on justice for those who again are shamed when bringing rape accusations. Treat them with respect and for goodness sake, please sentence the convicted to lengthy stays in prison as punishment.

  9. There was a hint of a quick glance from Kenny to the gallery yesterday to gauge their response as he sat down. Contrived? We will never know. In fairness to him he delivered well and did the right thing. He’s a professional. He said what needed to be said. We need to hear a heartfelt apology from the Orders. Their activities were criminal. The state may have colluded in their recruitment into these institutions–was the State aware of the conditions these women had to endure; indeed if they were aware; did they care?
    Personally I feel that if the Orders don’t step up and admit their wrongdoing, they need to be made an example of in the courts. Can you imagine the Roman Catholic Church declared as a proscribed organization. I wouldn’t shed any tears for them.

  10. The four congregations involved in the laundries have yet to apologise, they keep spouting out the same crap about deeply regretting what some women experienced, they should be on their knees begging for forgiveness and hand over compensation to the survivors, they make me sick the lot of them. get the fuck out of our schools and hospitals you’ve done enough damage you deranged pack of cunts.
    wait another 10 or 20 years untill we hear what they r up to in africa and other poor countries.

  11. I no longer live in Ireland, As far as I am concerned the orders should be disbanded and every thing they have taken be it money or property should be returned to the people.
    These were religious sisters not nuns. Although I know most people don’t know the difference. My family
    and some of my friends disappeared only one found her way out. That”s a story .My mothers brother ruined by the brothers. priests Brothers Religious sisters all of them have done so much damage and at the behest of the government and garda .
    They have a lot to answer for when will that be do you think, No they will all die off before redress is finally dealt with.
    All still afraid of Holy Mother Church. Rome who moved these people along to other countries and let them do it again and again. Rome will never take responsibility.
    I started of in religious life in Ireland was thrown out when I asked the big question. Told I was not very well. Thank God my family new what was what. My Mother and I spent month’s and years trying to find friends.
    No we can not say that not all did it. They were aware..Therefore responsible. They knew. and did nothing.No it is a very great sin. If they can spend over 11mil to build a new place for themselves and we let them then we are at fault now. They hide in secular clothing. God help our few Monastics still in habit. We take a beating because of them. And in all my love for my God and my Faith is intact. But what a fight to keep it.

    No time to do the right thing now Ireland and be the example to the rest of the world

  12. The laundry orders haven’t apologised, haven’t paid compensation and are still being publicly funded to work with vulnerable young women.

    Laundry orders run sex workers’ aid group

    The Irish Times 25th June 2011

    PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

    TWO OF the religious congregations which ran Magdalene laundries in the State set up and continue to run the Dublin-based Ruhama agency, which is funded by the State and works “with women affected by prostitution and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation”.

    The Good Shepherd Sisters have received more than €14.4 million from the Health Service Executive since 2006.


  13. Every time, you think it cannot get any worse, then it does… Yes I am a monastic here in Ireland but not Irish thankfully. Living in simple rented accommodation as befits my Vows. One day I asked the way in a small town to the new convent,, mercy owned. it cost around E12 million to build and the old one, still perfectly habitable, lies empty amd barricaded off and apple trees are fruiting and it all going to waste. The person I asked directions from asked me when I got there to ask them when they were giving US our money back,,, maybe folk forget how much the orders took from ordinary folk to build etc, , I was once visiting at one mercy place and the sr told me that if I took a n old lady to mass daily she would leave me her bungalow. Yet they all claim they have no money etc. They should be made to live in social housing and all they have given to others who they stole off. Sick of them all!

  14. The McAlese report was just another massive coverup and whitewash. How could it not be? Chaired by a devout Catholic. The horrendous crimes committed by these insane Catholic organisations over decades just leaves you speechless. The damage inflicted on Irish people is incalculable. All Irish society was brutalised and psychically damaged. It still is.

    Just look at the obsequious, deferential attitude of the Irish media to the news that Pope Benedict is to resign. The Vatican did everything in it’s power to obstruct investigations into child abuse worldwide. This so called Pope is equally culpable and guilty and should have been arrested for covering up crimes of rape against children. Nothing has been addressed. We have not moved on. Basically, the criminal, psychotic, deranged Orders were given immunity from prosecution by the Government of Bertie Ahern. People need to wake up and get angry.

  15. What a fucking actor,,worthy of an oscar, he cries on tv about the magdalene launderys, a few days later he scraps the mobility allowence for people in wheelchairs,,fucking disgraceful,,,

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