State should buy historic former Magdalene Laundry site
Published 19/04/2016 | 02:30
It's been said that the country that forgets its history is doomed to repeat it. I hope the State will consider that advice when deciding whether to acquire the former Magdalene Laundry at Donnybrook, Dublin. I have just signed an online petition initiated by playwright/politician Mannix Flynn, who experienced first-hand the savagery of our industrial school system, calling on the State to intervene and rescue this grotesque but uniquely historic edifice from oblivion.
It's more than just a building. It's a surviving example of one of the camps where thousands of women were incarcerated in that "Other Ireland" - the one to which Taoiseach Enda Kenny alluded when he apologised to the women who were wrongly detained, exploited, brutalised and stigmatised in those Hibernian Gulags.
The building was sold by the order of nuns who once managed it, but the buyers have yet to decide its ultimate fate. This is where the State can do itself some service. It can, on behalf of all of us, and to atone for its role in the horrific injustice inflicted on the Magdalenes, secure the building and preserve it as a permanent memorial to an era that we cannot afford to forget…lest it return to haunt us in the future.