Thursday, November 05, 2009

If It Isn't Too Much To Ask

A body can't be buried in Ireland without a proper death certificate.

Unless the burial is done by the Catholic Church, in which case no one needs to notify next of kin, take down names, or any of those other formalities that take up too much valuable time.

A group of women who once slaved in the Magdalene laundries met with officials yesterday, to ask if it wouldn't be too much trouble for An Garda Siochana to investigate the exhumation and subsequent re-burial of an uncounted number of women who died while inmates of the Magdalene laundry at High Park, Drumcondra.

The nuns who owned the facility had sold the property for development, and the cemetery was in the way. They had the remains dug up, cremated, and interred in Glasnevin, all without contacting next of kin or filing the proper paperwork. The uproar grew into a shout that eventually brought the entire system of abuse out into the open.

Those who toiled to wash away their sins, whether it was the stain of premarital sex, the crime of being attractive, or the taint of illegitimacy, not one of them ever received a penny in wages while the religious orders who ran the operations were paid by their customers.

To understand how the system worked and how it psychologically bent the innocent, you'd want to pick up a copy of The Leaven of the Pharisees, a novel that tells a powerful tale.

The buck's getting passed around, from the religious orders to the State to the Department of Education to the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme, an endless loop that allows no one to accept responsibility for what was done to innocent women in the name of overblown morality.

Sean Aylward of the Department of Justice said he'd look into some of the women's issues, but victims like Kathleen Legg and Marina Gambold are in their seventies. Justice for the Magdalenes can't come soon enough.

No comments: