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Have a heart, sisters – nuns are people and people are a mix of negative and positive

Mary Kenny


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I am not an unalloyed admirer of nuns – still chippy about my convent education, which I consider to have been blighted by the Loreto nuns’ obsession with respectability and their favouritism of the cleverer pupils.

But steady on. The sheer amount of monstering that nuns, as a group, have received during the National Maternity Hospital controversy is odiously disproportionate. Although hundreds of clinicians and obstetricians approved of the NMH leasehold deal for the new hospital, the nuns – as previous owners of St Vincent’s Hospital – were categorised as evil people who “sold babies” and were Frankensteined in ugly street posters. Even in the Oireachtas, the anti-nun trope was evident.


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