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Please remove stigma of my conviction


I AM a lady of 76 and when Bertie Ahern made his apology in 1999, I had one thing on my mind -- the conviction I received in 1935 would be expunged.

I was less than two when I was taken to a District Court in Clane, Co Kildare, and received a 14-year sentence. I suffered the indignity of the Goldenbridge Industrial School for all 14 of those years.

I have been reading the article by Dearbhail McDonald ('State refuses to wipe clean records of young "offenders"', Irish Independent, May 22), which refers to children over the age of 12.

Many of these children, like me infants of under two, were placed in these institutions with people who had committed crimes and no consideration was given to their age.

I have written to almost every TD and to the President about these convictions.

President Mary McAleese says she is constrained by her official duties to interfere in the matter.

Michael McDowell, who was Minister for Justice, has said the papers were used in error, for the wrong purpose and were more appropriate for criminals.

These papers were used for 40 to 50 years. Any mistake in a court of law must be rectified.

On my admission to Goldenbridge the first page says I was well nourished and clean and yet I was charged with being destitute. I have lived with the stigma of this conviction all my life.

may Cornish-Henderson

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MAY I modestly suggest an appropriate response to the reality exposed in Justice Ryan's report?

The religious organisations and their members profess to follow Jesus Christ, a man of no property. Let these organisations divest themselves of all their property -- every acre of land, every stone and every brick of every building.

Let every archbishop, bishop, monsignor and priest become penniless and throw themselves upon the mercy of the people.

Let the property of the religious organisations be placed in trust for the benefit of all children.

If their religion has true integrity, it will prosper in these circumstances. If not, it will wither.

So be it.

Steve MacDonogh
Lispole, Co Kerry

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