Monday 27 February 2017

Crocodile tears can't wash away indelible stain left by Magdalenes

A council worker in the now derelict Sisters of Our Lady of Charity Magdalene Laundry in Dublin
A council worker in the now derelict Sisters of Our Lady of Charity Magdalene Laundry in Dublin

WELCOME to the age of washing whites whiter. When stains show up on laundry day, we know just how to neutralise them – identify the perpetrators and start baying for heads on a platter.

Culprits are always other people, because Irish society never shares the blame for blots on the national reputation. Failures always happened without our knowledge or approval. And so, true to form, the default position is to round up the usual suspects following the Magdalene Laundries report.

You know the drill: the blame for the brutality of those workhouses can be laid entirely at the door of the Catholic Church, which moulded Ireland into a repressive place. The laundries are another example of the crushing hand of authoritarianism on the shoulders of women deemed dangerous, deviant or just plain inconvenient.

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