Who we are & what we have achieved:
Magdalene Survivors Together was set in July 2009 by Steven O' Riordan and Gerard Boland after their hugely successful documentary release entitled “The Forgotten Maggies”. Steven has been working on the subject of the Magdalene laundries for eight years and during this time he has been instrumental in allowing survivors the opprtunity for their stories to be heard.
This group is the only survivor led organisation, which focuses on the human rights aspect of the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland. We currently represent over one hundred Magdalene women working within the voluntary organisation and these women are located throughout Ireland and the UK. The women meet once a month in Dublin to discuss the magdalene issue, express ideas, concerns and ways of keeping the story of the Magdalene laundries alive and within the public domain.
The initial group was made up of five survivors, these included; Maureen Sullivan, Kathleen Legg, Mary Smyth, Marina Gambold and Maureen Taylor. Each of these women spent several years in Ireland's Magdalene Laundries and suffered horrific abuse from their time spent within these institutions.
They, along with Steven and Gerard were invited to meet with Government officials at the Department of Justice in Ireland for the first time on the 4th of November 2009. It was a massive break through in their fight for justice because never in the history of the Irish State had officials recognised or wanted to with these women.
Steven and the Magdalene women presented their stories, information and evidence of State interaction in a formal wa and as a result this set the wheels in motion the possibility of a State appology being considered.
During the coming year these women, along with Steven campaigned even harder to have their injustice acknowledged.
Magdalene Survivors Together held several marches to further highlight the women's plight. Further meetings were held with other Government officals at the Department of Justice, Education, Health and Environment. They continued to raise the question of slave labour, State failure and intervention to protect the Magdalene women.
In January 2010, Magdalene Survivors Together sought legal advice from Frank Buttimer Solicitors Cork on the possibility of taking a constitutional case against both the Irish State and Catholic Church.
In September 2011 group was again invited to meet with the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter on the issue of the Magdalene Laundries. He had earlier set up a committee led by Dr Martin McAleese to establish the true nature and extent of the States role with these institutions. This instruction had come about due to a direction given by the United Nations Against Torture that the Irish Goverment should compensate, prosecute and formally apologise to the women for the mistreatment they suffered at these aslyums.
Magdalene Survivors Together played a key role in the McAleese Inquiry. The Organisation submitted twenty survivor testmoines along with evidence of State interaction outlining several breeches of human’s rights .
On Tuesday the 19th of Feburary 2013 The Irish Government finally acknowledged the injustice that was done to all Magdalene women. Magdalene Survivors Together was even more pleased to learn that St. Mary's Stanhope Street Laundry had been included in the offical State appology.
Magdalene Survivors Together is currently working with Dublin City Council on the development of a National Monument to the memory of all Magdalene's.
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