Repeal the patronage of the present Artane Band

Tonight before Dublin City Council meeting a motion will be tabled to discontinue the Lord Mayor of Dublin’s patronage of the Artane Band. This band form part of the institutional gulags that are directly connected to the Tuam mother and baby home, the Magdalene Laundry system, the Industrial and reform school system, the orphanages, Bethany Home and the many other sites and centres of injustice to children and women that are scattered around this country.

Please support our campaign to disband the Artane Band.

www.disbandtheartaneband.com

bons-secours

Bon Secours grounds Tuam

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL

Emergency Motion on behalf of Independent Cllr. Mannix Flynn (IND)

That this meeting of Dublin City Council calls on the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Brendan Carr, to withdraw the patronage of the Lord Mayor’s Office from the Artane Band.
This patronage causes grave offense and insult to the many who suffered child sexual abuse in the Artane Industrial School, Artane Boys Band and other such Christian Brother Institutions.

It is important to note that the present Artane Band was founded in the Artane Industrial school and continues to wear the insignia and uniform of that industrial school.  Its origins are firmly rooted in the industrial school system and its legacy of crimes against children, further it is still connected to the Christian Brothers organization.

Reasons;.

The Lord Mayor, Cllr. Brendan Carr, has continued to ignore the many who are campaigning for justice with regards to what happened in their childhoods in the Artane Industrial school and indeed the Artane Boys Band, where many young children were sexually, emotionally and physically abused, their suffering continues to this day

For the Lord Mayor and chairman of Dublin City Council to continue to be the patron of the Artane Band is an outrage and will bring Dublin City Council’s reputation into disrepute by supporting the legacy of child abuse that took place in Artane Industrial School and the Artane Band. It is important that Dublin City Council and the office of the Lord Mayor distance themselves from this band and its history, which are well documented in the Ryan Report.

It is not the children who are in the band at present, but rather the band that the children are in, and its association with crimes against children. The institution of the Artane Industrial School and the Artane Band are directly connected to the likes of the Tuam Mother and Baby Homes, the Magdalene Laundry system, the Industrial and Reform School system, the Bethany Home and Orphanage system and form a central part of the architecture of containment that was so unjust.

Dublin City Council in this instance is facilitating further harm and suffering to the many victims of child rape and cruelty perpetrated on them while in the Artane Industrial School, home of the Artane Boys Band.

It is a fact that many of those who were abused and child raped by Christian Brothers were members of the Artane Boys Band, now known as the Artane Band.

Time to repeal the patronage of the present Artane Band in the interest of justice

Cllr. Mannix Flynn

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Protect me, I am the Donnybrook laundry

 

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Side laundry room, Donnybrook

 

Structure as witness

Deep in the heartland of Donnybrook, hidden in a crescent, surrounded by apartments, houses and leafy trees there sits, intact, a building which embodied part of our cruel social history.  Known locally as the laundry or Donnybrook laundry, but more widely known in sub-cultures and State reports as the Magdalene laundry of the Sisters of Charity.

 

Donnybrook2

Site for sale.  Our only completely intact Magdalene Laundry.

It is for sale now as in investment property at Donnybrook crescent. No mention in the brochure of its former use and its past.  No mention of the many women who toiled there, scrubbing shirts, washing socks, endless ironing, endless starching, endless washing; no let up, just let down.  No mention of the clients that came from the affluent families in the surrounding areas, nor that Áras an Úachtaráin was a client too.  The basket that carried the laundry – pressed, starched, immaculate spotless – now lies discarded with a pile of others, rotting and abandoned.

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Áras an Uachtaráin laundry box, Donnybrook Laundry

What would the nuns think of such disrespect, of such irreverance for such an important basket.  Back in the day these baskets were sacred. Revenue.  Handle with care.  These baskets, these boxes for laundry were very important. The people who worked, the women, the young girls, were never as important as these baskets.

Memory is something that fights an eternal battle with the passage of time and forgetfulness.  Time is a great healer for those who can heal and those who are offered healing.  There is no healing here. Time stands still like a festering wound in a well-to-do suburb as somebody attempts to erase a grave and mortal wrong. The McAleese report, the Justice for the Magdalenes, the hundreds of women still alive and their families should know of this place.  Should be present here to witness what can only be witnessed by them.  So that they can understand what’s lost, what cannot be given.  What was taken from them for generations.

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Granite staircase leading from laundry room to upstairs dormitory

The world and its mother should be brought through these doors to see for themselves, to feel for themselves what it was like, that this actually happened.  That this place exists.  All around it the religious lands are being sold for development.  Somebody somewhere pocketed the money for profit.  The laundry is and its history is othered , cut off by walls, sliced away from the well-manicured, well -kept, well-preserved and well-managed convent that remains on the site in the heart of Donnybrook, respected, revered.

This is private property  now and people use the local dry cleaners or their Zanussi washing machine or a launderette in town.  The sound of hand scrubbed collars if you listen you can still hear it. The vast drums of the washing machines , the slushing of the water, the mangle of the manglers, the rinsing of the dirty laundry.  Nobody in Donnybrook wore dirty clothes in those days, they all turned up spic and span spotless, scrubbed by ‘sinners’.

The chimney stack of the laundry is a defiant hand of a female inmate.  Screaming out ‘we were here’, ‘we were treated badly’, ‘you wronged us’, ‘you took all from us’.  The tall mast of RTE broadcasting strange half-truths to the Nation doesn’t hear this.  The world passes by here unbeknownst. The presence of presence is something all of us should never miss.  Our bones give us a sense of place, a sense of now.  Like Caesar, like Brutus, like Marc Antony the good is in the bone, the memory is in the marrow, living.

The Magdalene laundry is still intact and this State and its people need to ensure it stays intact and all the paraphernalia there within, the ledgers, the industrial machines, the woven baskets, the statues, the cupboards, the stairways, the furniture, the windows the atmosphere remain intact.  This place should not be turned into an artificial artefact.  This is the real thing. If ever there was to be a monument, a memorial, a gesture, an acknowledgment – this is it.  This is a place of anger and atonement.  A place of rage and fury.  A place of loss and maybe a place to be found.

suitcases

Baskets and suitcases once precious, now discarded

Thousands upon thousands of women and young girls suffered in the Magdalene Laundry system.  Thousands of children suffered in the Industrial school system, they were by and large the children of the poor.  The children that this State regarded as surplus to need and that the Catholic Church and the religious congregations enslaved, exploited and abused as their sexual playthings.

The uniqueness of this site and this location is that its not separated from the surrounding community in their fine Victorian redbrick houses.  Not separated entirely from their history.  The Sisters of Charity have an obligation to preserve this building as a testament to their own past and as some sort of atonement to the many women who feel gravely wronged.  It is also important to preserve it as an educational centre to inform future generations of just what way we treated those who were not strong.

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Upstairs dormitory, Magdalene laundry, Donnybrook

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Discarded statues, Donnybrook Magdalene laundry

All across the country from the Good Shepherds in Limerick to the wood turning college in Letterfrack, Connemara they are trying to erase this landscape, this memory by turning these sites into Art Colleges, hostels, homeless accommodation etc None of them have yet to be made or let be what they are – sites of anguish, sites of suffering, which form a vital part of our social, political and religious history.

With all we know about what happened to individuals in this country, with all we know about this State and the Irish Catholic Church and its congregations, with the continuous ongoing injustice to the Magdalene women and the Mother and Baby home (women and children) it would be an absolute disgrace and a further insult and injury if this site was not preserved, exactly as it is.  In many ways, this site in my view, is as important as any of the battle sites of 1916 that are getting so much attention.  Indeed, the men and women of 1916 laid down their lives for the women of the Magdalene laundries and the children of the institutions.

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Interior laundry room, Donnybrook

People of Donnybrook, people of Dublin lets do the right thing here and own our past.  All of it.  Let’s not try smooth it out with a bit of cash, a bit of compensation or an inappropriate architectural monument. We have the real thing and all its uncomfortability for us all. It is high time we stopped running from it. Stand still and face it.

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Hand wash garment sinks

These institutions and their memories are among us, were always among us, but we have chosen to deny them, to make them invisible, to make them secret to shove them into a past, into a history.  But they are not done with us yet. Time to embrace our own unpalatable truth.

Kate O’Connell TD, Jim O Callaghan TD, Eoghan Murphy TD, Eamon Ryan TD make this your first task.

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Sisters of Charity, Donnybrook.  Founder, Mary Aikenhead.  Purveyor’s of Magdalene Laundry services.

 

Please sign the petition and pass it on Protect Donnybrook Magdalene Laundry Petition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suggestions for those engaging in Mother and Baby home inquiry.


Chrisso Flynn's dress

To all of those who are thinking of engaging in this process.  Keep a record of all phone calls and conversations that you have with the inquiry and its staff.

Keep the original copy of all correspondence or statements that you wish to submit to the inquiry examination. If you are posting, make sure to register and send the copy.

Ensure, if you are going to give witness testimony that you have good counsel and good support mechanisms as this process can be very traumatic and stressful.

It would be also important to inquire now whether there is a fund available for people to avail of counseling etc.

The past is a good learner and the past has show that they never cared for us.  Didn’t nurture us and didn’t love us.  We were ‘surplus to need’ and thrown away.  There is nothing to suggest now that this practice and belief has truly changed.

It is important that people care for themselves and nurture each other and invest in themselves for their own truth rather than this inquiry which will take many years to complete its work.  While it is very welcome – similar public inquiries and examinations into institutions in this country have further alienated many, caused further harm and avoided truth, consequences for perpetrators and has not led to any meaningful recovery, healing or reconciliation.

Try not to give or invest too much in this inquiry process at this particular point.  Easy does it.  It didn’t happen to them it happened to us.  We are the owners of it and they’d be only too delighted if we handed it over willy nilly for them to do what they like with.

So be prudent, be cautious and be aware of false nurture and don’t get  into the world of expectation or transference.

This is just another part of the journey where we will find ourselves challenging the State in an inquiry that they have set up.

It would be far better to email than to phone I think.  It gives you more control and boundary and is easier to manage how one feels and you then also have the paper trail to prove what you have sent.  The freephone is manned from 10am-1pm and 2pm-4.30pm Monday to Friday.   

Children born in the listed institutions are welcome to call and they will be issued with an information leaflet and application form which they can return to the commission should they be interested in telling their story to the Confidential Committee.

We’re not looking for sympathy.  We’re looking for justice and truth and the right to have access to our families and documents etc. When I say we, I include myself, because i’ve been on this journey – similar in every way to the Ryan report for decades. We can hold them accountable but we are ultimately responsible for how we are going to engage with this process.

It would be also wise to set up a good national support group with trusted individuals who people have confidence in as there are many groups out there purporting to represent individuals and groups – perhaps a new steering committee with good independent professionals might be good.

Bear in mind that we were the trafficked, the banished, the forsaken.  For those of us who have had this experience and lived to fight for truth and tell the story there are twice as many who lie in pits for graves from Tuam to Letterfrack, Passage West to Castlepollard.

These are but suggestions – they are not advise and you are the one who has to make the decisions and take the responsibilities.

A talk by Dr Gabriella Calchi-Novati at Forsaken exhibition

Gallery

This gallery contains 18 photos.

A talk by Dr Gabriella Calchi-Novati at Forsaken exhibition, Dollard House, Wellington Quay Dublin. The Space of Gerard Mannix Flynn’s “Performances of Inclusion”: Forsaken Heterotopias Continue reading

Urgent: Call for a full independent public inquiry into Magdalene Laundry institutions

We need to call immediately for a ‘full independent public inquiry’ into the Magdalene Laundry system and Mother and baby homes in this country.

As Felice D. Gaer stated last week (United Nations Committee against Torture)

the McAleese report lacked many elements of a prompt, independent and thorough investigation, as recommended by the Committee in its Concluding Observations.  Specifically, the Committee has received information from several sources highlighting that the McAleese Report, despite its length and detail, did not conduct a fully independent investigation into allegations of arbitrary detention, forced labour or ill-treatment.  While noting the State party’s response explained that individuals and groups were encouraged to report any evidence of criminal wrong doing directly, the Committee also received information that the State party was presented with extensive survivor testimony in the from of reports by Justice for Magdalenes and was aware of the existence of possible criminal wrong doings, including physical and psychological abuse.

With these factors in mind, the Committee would appreciate further information as to the measures the State party is planning to take to ensure that there is a full inquiry into all complaints of abuse, in accordance with the Committee’s original recommendation? Please clarify whether the State party intends to set up an inquiry body that is independent, with definite terms of reference, and statutory powers to compel evidence, and retain evidence obtained from relevant religious bodies? Would such an inquiry be empowered with the capacity to hold public hearings or obtain access to evidence for survivors or representative groups? Would such an inquiry have the authority to conduct a full-scale investigation into the abuse, and issue a public invitation to submit evidence? Given the nature and duration of institutionalized abuse, as well as the advanced age (and possible geographical remoteness) of some survivors, what steps does the State party intend to take to encourage survivors to lodge complaints?

On the issue of redress for survivors of the Magdalene Laundries, please clarify how the State party intends to ensure that the proposed fund to assist victims and survivors will in fact be primarily used to help such persons, as it has publicly stated it would try to do, rather than being used to cover legal or administrative costs? What measures are being put in place to help institutionalized survivors to engage with the redress processes.

As regards the law commission investigation established following the McAleese report, and headed by President of the Irish Law Reform Commission, Mr Justice John Quirke, the Committee understands that he was charged with investigating the reporting back to the government with recommendations within three months from 19 Feb 2013 as to the “establishment of an ex gratia Scheme (to operate on a non=adversarial basis)” for survivors of the Magdalene Laundries, and to make recommendations as to the criteria that should be applied in assessing the help that the government can provide in the areas of payments and other supports, including medical cards, psychological and counseling services and other welfare needs. The committee is concerned that his work is premised on the incomplete investigations carried out by MrAleese committee. In this regard, the Committee looks forward to learning of the results of his investigation. Please also clarify whether the Quirke investigation process will have independent statutory powers, be transparent and also subject to an appeals process, and independently monitored”

 

Felice D. Gaer 22nd May 2013 United Nations Human Rights office of the High Commissioner

 

State White Wash

IRISH STATE WHITE WASH

The design for the Government/Irish State memorial as recommended in the http://www.childabusecommission.com/rpt/pdfs/ Ryan Report – Commission to enquire into child abuse in Residential Schools is seeking planning permission.   This premature gesture, in the form of a memorial/monument is more of a crushing blow to truth, transparency and justice than any of the horrendous testimonies contained in the Ryan Report itself.  This pseudo attempt by the State/Government of the Republic of Ireland to address the issues of torture and inhumane treatment of children in its care is an outrage in itself and an insult to those who are continuing to struggle for justice and accountability for the many crimes committed against them in State sanctioned and religious run institutions on the Island of Ireland.

Recently, the First Minister and deputy First Minster of Northern Ireland extended the terms for the http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/historical-institutional-abuse inquiry into historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995.  This is a Statutory Inquiry.  Many such inquiries have yet to be established throughout the length and breath of Ireland in every parish to uncover the truth of what happened to generations of children at the hands of the most trusted.  The more difficult issues of responsibility, accountability and securing justice for the abused still appear to be a long way off.  Justice is still being denied to thousands of individuals who were brutalised in institutions in the Irish Republic and few of those who did the brutalising have had to face any consequences for their behaviour. While these core matters remain unresolved, erecting this memorial is premature, a folly built on sand.

Memorials are about the past and the issues of physical, emotional and sexual abuse in Irish institutions are not yet historical. Certainly not for the women forced to toil in the http://www.magdalenelaundries.com Magdalene Laundries, nor for the children of the “http://www.indymedia.ie/article/100060 Bethany homes, Mother and baby homes, the trafficked children or those abused in day-schools,or the most recent report into the child prison,http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2012/1020/1224325505278.html St Patricks Institution Dublin, none of whom have yet had the wrongs done to them acknowledged, heard or redressed.  Until their stories are heard and honoured, erecting a ‘monument’ is, at the very least, insensitive.

Doubly so when it is sponsored by the same State which was a co-accused and a guilty party to their abuse. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/the-indemnity-deal-at-a-glance-1747692.html

 The time to memorialise an issue like this is only when all that can be put right has been put right.  That time is not yet here. 

This memorial is a whitewash and an avoidance of truth by the very people who were engaged in the joint venture of torture and inhumane treatment of generations of children, the Irish State.

view of walkway

The reports on child abuse highlight how the law did not serve or apply to all members of Irish society equally. Despite the severity of the crimes revealed in the Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne reports which range from physical assault to rape, very few perpetrators have been convicted.  The neglect and abuse in these reports can be categorized as torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under human rights law.  The children’s right to be free from slavery and forced labour were contravened.”

Amnesty International Ireland Report, October 2011

What can you do?

Write to Dublin City Council Planning Department and raise your objections to this obstacle to justice, truth and exclusion. The web reference on Dublin City Council  website 1196/12

Email your objections:Planning@dublincity.ie”Planning@dublincity.ie

view of walkway2walkway lightsAn inscription of the ‘apology’  of former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern,  is proposed to dominate the tunnel.  This same person is responsible for the indemnity deal between the Irish State and Church. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/the-indemnity-deal-at-a-glance-1747692.html  (See also Bruce Arnold, ‘The Irish Gulag’ page 122  – The Secret Deal)

plans 2As you can see from the plans the tunnel is designed to come out at the head of a crucifix in the Garden of Remembrance.  A highly inappropriate symbol to be merged into any memorial to children who have been abused by the State and Church.White washView the plans of the ‘OPW’ memorial on our site at Essex Street, Temple Bar Dublin.