Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Survivors plead for church boycott

Marina Gambold has urged massgoers to avoid adding to the collection plates this weekend over the Magdalene Laundries

Survivors of the Magdalene laundries have called on massgoers to boycott church and any collections this weekend.

Women detained in the Catholic church workhouses have criticised religious orders for refusing to contribute to a compensation scheme and urged the public to hit them in the pocket.

More than 260 women have applied for the scheme, announced by the Government last month.

Madgalene survivor Marina Gambold appealed to the public to back their fight for justice.

"It is not a big ask to call on people living in Ireland to support us and what we have suggested is a simple but powerful way of sending a clear message to the religious orders to do the right thing," she said.

"Why can't they do the right thing? Why do they want to make us suffer like this? They made us suffer behind closed doors many years ago, and now they are doing it in public that is shocking, disappointing and disgusting."

Julie McClure, who was detained at Stanhope Street, Dublin, said she worked day and night for the institution. She added: "What happened to us was a gross violation of our personal and fundamental human rights. Nobody seems to care that all we are asking is to be supported. Why can't the Government do that?"

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Justice Minister Alan Shatter have urged the religious orders - The Good Shepherd Sisters, The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, The Sisters of Mercy and The Sisters of Charity - to consider contributing to the fund, which is expected to cost the state between 34.5 million and 58 million euro.

Campaign group Magdalene Survivors Together said the women want the public to help them get the orders to take responsibility. Spokesman Steven O' Riordan also called on the Government to lift the Statute of Limitations ban in women taking future legal action if they sign up to the scheme. He said: "After the shocking and pathetic response from the Government, the women are now seeking the assistance of all decent citizens of this country to stand behind them."

The Department of Justice later confirmed that 290 application forms have been received for processing to date.

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