All this in the Name of Jesus - Installation by Maedhbh Mc Mahon
For generations the Catholic Church and the Irish state conspired to detain tens of thousands of Irish citizens in a network of forced labour camps throughout the Republic of Ireland. Part of this network was the Magdalene laundry system where women and young girls were stripped of all identity and banished to a perpetual servitude of hard labour washing society's clothes. These institutions of incarceration and detention were used to contain people, to lock them up and lock them away; many, whose freedom was snatched from them, never saw the outside world again. Their remains lie - often without name, identity or cause of death - behind the institutions that dominate the landscape of towns, villages and cities throughout Ireland.
In many incidences, the children of these women and girls, were taken and sold abroad to Catholic families under the guise of legal adoption and those âstolen and trafficked children' are today seeking their true authentic identities in the face of denial and indifference. The trauma cultivated and practiced by the institution of the Catholic Church is, by and large, still being covered up and this silence keeps alive the violence of such regimes of terror, leaving many of those traumatized and terrorised children still seeking answers to why such injustices and crimes were committed against them and why society shamed and shuned them all in the name of Jesus.
In filaments and fragments, two large stitched ground plans of one of these institutional compounds (Limerick) give poignant expression to the institutionalism and the regime of hard labour, incarceration and slavery endured by the generations of women, girls and their infants. For some of those who managed to escape, England became a place of sanctuary and refuge from persecution. It is only now, that the true stories of what happened to these women in the Magdalene laundry system are being told and being treated as a serious attack on human rights.
The time has come for a full Independent public inquiry
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