Magdalene group calls for Mass boycott
Survivors of laundries seek solidarity from citizens over orders refusal to pay redress
Magdalene survivors Marina Gambold (left) and Maureen Sullivan (right) , the youngest known survivor admitted to the Irish Magdalene laundry system. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times
One of the groups representing survivors of the Magdalene laundries has called on people to boycott Mass and to withhold donations to local churches this weekend.
Magdalene Survivors Together has already called for charitable status to be withdrawn from the four religious orders that ran the laundries after they said they would not contribute to a redress fund for the women.
The Mercy Sisters, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Sisters of Charity and the Good Shepherd Sisters have informed Minister for Justice Alan Shatter they will not pay into the fund.
The Government believes the orders have an “ethical and moral” obligation to contribute to the fund, which will cost between €34 million and €58 million. Taoiseach Enda Kenny said this week, however, he could not force the orders to contribute.
Spokesman for Magdalene Survivors Together, Steven O’Riordan, said that after the “shocking and pathetic “response from the Government, the women were now seeking the assistance of “all decent citizens of this country to stand behind them”.
“We want people to make it clear to the Church that people are not happy with how the women are being treated by the four religious orders who ran Magdalene laundries. “
He also called on the Government and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to lift the statute of limitations on women taking legal cases against the religious orders. Mr Shatter said earlier this week he could not interfere with the charitable status of the orders as it is a statutory process.
Marina Gambold, a survivor and member of Magdalene Survivors Together said the Mass boycott would be “a simple but powerful way of sending a clear message to the religious orders to do the right thing”.
The group said Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s perception of a meeting he held with it was “a lot more different to what he has indicated in Dail statements”.
Mr O’Riordan said: “The women explicitly explained and clearly outlined that the religious orders should and must be held responsible.
“At no point did the survivors ever indicate that they were just looking for just a State apology.”