PATSY McGARRY Religious Affairs Correspondent

THE JUSTICE for Magdalenes (JFM) group has accused the Catholic Church of giving survivors of the Magdalene laundries the “classic run-around” and has claimed four letters it sent to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin over the last 18 months have not been answered.

The group has again written to Dr Martin following an interview he gave on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland yesterday in which he said he was “sympathetic” to the Magdalene women’s case. The church had addressed such issues from the past and there was “no reason why we can’t address this one”, he said.
He added Cardinal Seán Brady, as president of the Irish Episcopal Conference, had met representatives of JFM.

In a letter sent to Archbishop Martin yesterday on behalf of JFM, Prof Jim Smith from Boston College said he was heartened by the radio interview.
He said he had also written to the four congregations involved in running the laundries – the Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Charity, Good Shepherd Sisters, and Sisters of Our Lady of Charity – “all of who have a presence in the Dublin archdiocese”, when he had previously written to the archbishop.
“Finally, last June, I heard directly from the Good Shepherd Sisters and the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity and they informed me that they didn’t feel there was ‘anything to talk about’ and that they would not meet with JFM.”

Prof Smith pointed out he had also written to Cori (Conference of Religious of Ireland) “last July seeking a meeting, as suggested by Cardinal Brady. We heard back on October 1st, 2010, that Cori was not prepared to meet with us, referring us instead to the four religious congregations.”
“JFM very much feels that the Catholic Church in Ireland, and especially the four religious congregations, are engaged in giving JFM, with all due respect, a classic run-around . . . the church is pursuing a ‘deny ’til they die’ policy.”

He recalled how at the “Liturgy of Lament and Repentance” in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral last February, Archbishop Martin had apologised and urged abuse survivors to continue to speak out.
Prof Smith continued: “JFM is doing precisely what you asked other survivors of institutional abuse to do – we are speaking out, seeking the truth.”
A spokeswoman for Archbishop Martin said last night Prof Smith had been in touch and would get a response “in due course”.
James Smith
Associate Professor
English Department & Irish Studies Program
Boston College


2 Responses to “Magdalene group getting ‘run-around’”

  1. In any other context it would be considered very cruel. had the mafia enslaved these women the church would be warning us to keep well away from the church.but its them this time and it doesnt matter if we are protesdent or catholic. its all about abuse.thay were allowed to take on caring about people roles and thay all used thier basic naturel perversion on others. the good work of the church never ever did anything else but destroy cultures and impose guilt.

  2. Rose says:

    There ya go Professor. You will get a response in “due course”. No deadlines for the powers that be. They will just drag their heels on the matter, pretending to listen. They had no hesitation in setting a deadline for applications to the Redress Board and yet another deadline for victims of industrial school abuse, to contact Barnardos to give their views on the statutory fund. Arrogance and denial are what those people are most experienced at.

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