Magdalene premiere: Irish-made documentary airs tonight


THE ONLY Irish-made documentary on the Magdalene laundries to date will get its television premiere on TG4 at 9.30 tonight.

The Forgotten Maggies, which will be broadcast in English, was first screened at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2009.

Directed and produced by Steven O’Riordan, it includes the stories of eight women who were in the laundries, and explores in depth the 1993 exhumation of the remains of 155 women who had been in the High Park Magdalene laundry at Drumcondra in Dublin.

Those women, some of whom were not identified, were reinterred in Glasnevin cemetery to allow for sale of lands to developers by the Good Shepherd Sisters, who had run the laundry.

The women who appear in the documentary include Maureen Sullivan, Maureen Taylor, Kathleen Legg, Josephine Meade, Mary Collins, Mary Condon, Mary Smyth and Mary King.

They relate their experiences of what it was like for them in the laundries.

The film took five years to make with everyone involved doing so on a voluntary basis. In November 2009 five of the women who take part in the documentary met the secretary general of the Department of Justice, Seán Aylward, and assistant secretary James Martin for a two-hour meeting.

Compensation for the women and a State apology were among topics discussed.

The women who attended that meeting included Mary Smyth, Maureen Sullivan, Maureen Taylor and Kathleen Legg, who told the officials about their own experiences in the laundries.

They were accompanied by Steven O’Riordan. Since then a website, magdalenesurvivors, has been set up to campaign for justice for all women who had been in the laundries.

From a Distance, a charity single to raise funds for this campaign, was released recently. Singers who feature on it and on the accompanying YouTube video include Sinead O’Connor, Tommy Fleming, Daniel O’Donnell, Brian Kennedy, Moya Brennan, Charlie Landsborough and the Glasgow Gospel Choir.