Sunday 20 October 2019

'I promised my dad I would find justice for his mother' - grandson at Magdalenes memorial

Emotional: Mary Merritt, who spent 14 years in High Park, sheds a tear at the annual Flowers for Magdalenes memorial in Glasnevin Cemetery. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Emotional: Mary Merritt, who spent 14 years in High Park, sheds a tear at the annual Flowers for Magdalenes memorial in Glasnevin Cemetery. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

David Young

The grandson of a woman incarcerated in a Magdalene laundry has spoken of his family's pride as he attended an emotional commemoration.

Frank Brehany, from Wales, discovered his family's "deep secret" after promising his late father he would find his mother.

Mr Brehany's grandmother Mary spent many years in High Park laundry in Dublin.

Yesterday, Mr Brehany was at a memorial event in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, to commemorate the women who died inside the walls of the laundries.

There, he embraced 88-year-old Mary Merritt, who credits his grandmother with looking after her during her 14 years in the laundry.

"I am deeply moved and privileged to be standing here in the company of giants - it's a cliché, but it's a true cliché," Mr Brehany said. "My journey started in 2010 to uncover the secret, the deep secret of my family. Before my father died I promised I would find his family, that I would find his mother.

"The other part of that promise is I would find justice for my family, justice for Mary."

Ms Merritt gave thanks that Ireland had been transformed since the days of the laundries.

"It's a great day for Ireland that it's all changed," she said.

Irish Independent

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