update: new jfmr book published
On 9th September 2021, our book, Ireland and the Magdalene Laundries: A Campaign for Justice was published by IB Tauris/Bloomsbury. This book responds to Magdalene survivors’ appeal that the public know and learn from the abuses they experienced so that what happened to them can never be forgotten.
The book also offers an overview of the Justice for Magdalenes campaign and our ongoing efforts to advance public knowledge and research into the Magdalene Laundries. It highlights how the Irish State continues to evade its responsibilities to Magdalene survivors and its failure to provide a truthful account of the abuses in these institutions.
Drawing from a range of primary sources the book reveals the fundamental flaws in the Irish State’s investigation of the laundries. It categorically disproves the McAleese Report’s claim that all 155 women exhumed from High Park Magdalene Laundry are now accounted for.
In the name of all of the girls and women held in the Magdalene Laundries we are donating all authors’ royalties to the charity Empowering People in Care.
JFMR has written to Minister Roderic O’Gorman to request that the Magdalene Restorative Justice Implementation Team provide a copy of the book to every survivor who wishes to receive one.
The book’s front matter, including the foreword of JFMR co-founder Mari Steed, is available free of charge here.
In line with our goal to challenge knowledge suppression, we are making available our source materials via an archive here.
The book can be purchased from your local book store.
This brave book is an archive of an unfinished movement, a survey of the continuing harms of so-called ‘historical abuse’, and a set of demands for law reform and political change. In places, it is also a love letter to those who survived Ireland’s Magdalene laundries. In devastating detail, it shows how Irish politicians, professionals and members of religious orders have resisted demands that these women be recognised as victims of human rights abuse. More than a description of Justice for Magdalenes’ campaigning and research, it is an important challenge to official histories and excuses that stubbornly carry undeserved weight in Irish public discourse.
―Máiréad Enright, University of Birmingham
The campaign for justice for the girls and women incarcerated in Magdalene laundries is one of the greatest acts of truth-telling in the recent history of Ireland. The walls of institutional denial have had to be demolished slowly and painfully, brick by brick. The experiences of those most involved in this task, so vividly detailed in this vital book, tell us so much, not just about a history that was shamefully obscured, but about the imperative for every society to really know itself. In helping the survivors to reclaim their dignity, this indispensable book also helps the rest of us to reclaim the true meaning of shared citizenship and common humanity.
―Fintan O’Toole, Irish Times Journalist and Orwell Prize winner
It is impossible to describe the toxic fog of shame, distortion and indifference these writers worked through so the truth of the Magdalen Laundries could be seen in a proper light. No one wanted to know. They are my heroes.
―Anne Enright, Author and winner of the 2007 Booker Prize
By scrupulously dismantling the sometimes cynical and chosen ignorance of State authorities and by demonstrating its responsibility, they underpin their call for restorative justice for emotional and physical abuse of the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries. In this process they leave no stone unturned, from access to records on identity up to and including advocacy for memorization for the benefit of the Irish society as a whole.
―Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children