Online archive of Magdalene Laundries
The Irish State’s complicity in the Magdalene Laundries is illustrated in a new online archive that shows how thousands of Irish women were unjustly held against their will – in Ireland.
The project is a collaboration between Justice for Magdalenes Research group and Waterford Institute of Technology.
The searchable database contains thousands of documents. Dr Jennifer O’Mahoney says it shows that the state was complicit in the operation of the laundries. She said: “Another method would be showing how girls might have been sent from the criminal justice system directly into the laundries as a form of internment.
“Women wouldn’t have been sent very typically to prisons at the time, and this is where they were sent instead.
“So, it’s any document like that showing that the state was directly involved in girls ending up behind the walls of a laundry.”
The archive includes the oral histories of those who lived and worked within the Magdalene Laundries and Industrial Schools in the South-East of Ireland. The laundries operated from the 18th century to the late 20th century.
The searchable database consists of thousands of documents. Dr Jennifer O’ Mahoney, who worked with Kieran Cronin, on the project, said the material establishes that the Irish State was complicit in the operation of the laundries.
“This project is about more than research and educational pursuits; there is a genuine responsibility to recognize the trauma these women suffered in silence, and respond to their needs and desire to disseminate their stories according to their wishes.
“As Principal Investigator for this project, I am both honored and humbled by these women and their bravery to publicly tell their stories. This project is not about giving the Magdalene survivors a voice – it is about providing the platform for their voice to be heard, coupled with professional analysis.”
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