Advanced search

At last the inquiry into the Magdalene Laundries has been published in Ireland

(19 Posts)
mathanxiety Fri 15-Feb-13 03:28:10

Yes, it does go way beyond management failure. It was the perfect storm of empathy failure in a culture that positively discouraged empathy -- in fact it encouraged the opposite; the kicking of people when they were down was a national sport. There was a massive amount of cognitive dissonance and it was in many ways a separate universe from the world where people were starting to be able to see themselves in terms of the psyche instead of being primarily concerned with heaven and hell. There was a conscious rejection of all the modern world had to offer wrt self perception and insight into motivation.

Snorbs Thu 14-Feb-13 07:07:23

I think the abuse goes way beyond lack of modern management skills. It suggests, instead, a complete failure of basic human empathy.

mathanxiety Thu 14-Feb-13 05:30:59

I'm not so sure that abuse didn't happen elsewhere. Ireland had (and in some respects still has) a strong culture of amateurism when it comes to management, and that had/has repercussions for all institutions where there were vulnerable people -- old folks homes (especially county homes), county hospitals, maternity hospitals, all schools, and senior management who had got there by the time-honoured methods of timeserving and never sticking your neck out.

Nuns and brothers or priests were never trained to be managers. Their training consisted of spiritual elements only, with maybe a bit of bookkeeping thrown in. Modern psychological insight into human behaviour was considered one of the main moral problems in the twentieth century (Freud's ideas about the major drives shared by humanity being anathema to people raised on the Catechism which postulates a completely different function for humans), and management practices/group psychology arising from the science of psychology never made a dent in any of the Orders' training for teachers or managers, whether in healthcare of education.

Freud and the Catechism are uneasy bedfellows and even today the prevailing atmosphere in convent schools tends to be the old suck up culture that led to acceptance of horrible abuse as a part of life that you just had to get used to. Teachers have favourites and no-one raises an eyebrow, enthusiastic young teachers find the life sucked out of them not by sullen children but by horribly unprofessional management practices, the head nun tends to be 'she who must be obeyed', and can often be a talentless timeserver in a dwindling group of available nuns whose time has come and who is interested only in making sure everyone knows who the Boss is but is otherwise not at all interested in institutional development or the welfare of the children - rather than someone actually able to manage staff properly, keep morale up among staff, introduce new ideas, above all end the suck up culture so beloved of the nuns that is such a cancer in Irish schools. [I do have one specific well regarded convent school in mind here]

Animation Wed 13-Feb-13 16:35:38

Thanks Mathsanxiety.

Thats a outrageous that these women - just because they call themselves 'nuns' got away with it and dodged the law. If this abuse had happened in any other organisation or care home all individuals would have been investigated and heads would have rolled.

These women committed gross offences and caused great distress and harm. They remain responsible and accountable and should be prosecuted.

mathanxiety Tue 12-Feb-13 19:36:08

By 1996 there was a handful of inmates (maybe fewer than 5) in a Dublin laundry and that was the extent of it.

The nuns have never been made to come forward as individuals. They have been anonymous behind their assumed names and sheltered by their Orders.

Animation Tue 12-Feb-13 11:15:14

I was incredulous that this went on until 1996.

What happened to these nuns - were they ever held to account for their cruelty. Or did they just disappear?

And what did the all powerful men have to say about it?

Greydog Sat 09-Feb-13 20:43:07

Like the others here I could not believe it went on so long, and nothing was done about it. Considering what the church should stand for I feel sick that it happened. What did these people think they were doing? I feel very sad and also that an apology just wont cut it. These people were made into slaves - trafficked in fact - and they deserve financial recompense. There's plenty of money in Rome.

emilywq Sat 09-Feb-13 13:06:27

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

mathanxiety Fri 08-Feb-13 04:32:01

Diddl, There were lots of shotgun weddings and also lots of suitcases packed hastily and one way tickets for the cattle boat to Liverpool bought at the docks.

zoez Wed 06-Feb-13 12:56:36

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 06-Feb-13 12:50:12

It didn't just happen in Ireland, of course. My own grandmother and her sister, aged just 2 and 4, were left in the 'care' of nuns at a children's home in the North of England in the 1920s, subjected to extremely humiliating treatment and damaged for life. I hope the women affected by this injustice are not simply fobbed off with an apology. I think they deserve financial compensation.

diddl Wed 06-Feb-13 08:04:55

1996-I was shocked/stunned/gobsmacked by that.

I´m (only) 50 & just can´t believe that this was going on in my lifetime.

It´s the sort of thing that I associate with a different era!

And if a girl fell pregnant-what happened to the man??

It just beggars belief.

Not just that it happened, which is bad enough-but how appalling the conditions were & how disgustingly some girls/women were treated by nuns!!

Darkesteyes Tue 05-Feb-13 22:52:58

Also the vicious way my mum talks about women is awful. I had a job at our local convent and the sister in charge nit picked at me the whole time. After it turned into full scale bullying we had a falling out. I went home and told my mum who sided with the Sister.
I wrote a letter and quit.
It was a Saturday job from 2pm to 7pm.
Eight months later when i was signing on the Job Centre called me in and told me that while inquiring after my last job this cow had written on the form that i had left because i found the work very difficult.
the Sister obviously hoped id lose my benefit. But the JC said as it was only a Saturday afternoon job i couldnt be expected to live on 6.25 a fortnight so her viciousness didnt work. Cow.

Darkesteyes Tue 05-Feb-13 22:45:38

I was brought up Catholic. (not Ireland,UK But i have an Italian parent.) Ive had nowhere near the experience of these women but being brought up in this religion you are made to feel a second class citezen just for being female.
I walked out on this religion when i left home. Told my mum last year that if something happened to me that i dont want a Catholic funeral. She asked why and then said "Dont be ridiculous" when i told her i want NO part of a religion that despises women. "of course they dont hate women" she said.

Just found this on twitter. Its a lady tweeting about her mum who was in a Magdelene laundry.
Its harrowing reading.

ubik Tue 05-Feb-13 22:38:21

imagine as a young girl, being shut up in those places, taken from your family nd forced to work like a slave.

there was a Peter Mullen film about these laundries 'the Sisters Magdalen' I think it was called. well worth watching

mamalovesmojitos Tue 05-Feb-13 22:37:52


5madthings Tue 05-Feb-13 22:35:36

I know when I heard how recent it was I was shocked. Its appalling and I hope they get a proper apology.

angelinterceptor Tue 05-Feb-13 22:33:28

I cried a little bit today listening to one lady on the radio today.
Absolutely dreadful crime against them all.
Really really sad

kicker Tue 05-Feb-13 22:18:18

What really shocked me was that it was as late as 1996 that the whole sorry institution ceased.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now