City protests over sealing of Mother and Baby home records

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The Limerick School of Art and Design which was the site of a Magdalene Laundry.

LIMERICK is fighting back against a decision which would close details of the investigation into the notorious mother and baby homes for thirty years.
A series of coordinated actions is planned as part of the campaign to reverse the government’s decision to pass the bill.

Sinéad Jackson, an environmental scientist and activist, has organised a protest for Saturday, October  31 at 3pm at City Hall.
She said “There has been widespread and justified outrage in response to the decision of the government to seal the records of the Mother and Baby Homes. For too long, many Irish families have been left in the dark. Their abuse swept under the carpet.
“My grandmother was one of the babies who was adopted and taken away from her mother by the church and the state. It’s obscene that they would try to obstruct access to information which could help families such as ours know where we came from.”
Ava Jade O’Keeffe, a student at the Limerick College of Further Education  has organised a protest outside of the Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) for Friday, October 30 at 1pm.

Explaining the choice of location she said:“We all know that building on Clare Street as the Art College, but not so long ago it was the Good Shepherd Convent and Magdalene Laundry. Up until 1990 in fact.
“The school of art took over the building in 1994 and any link to its dark past has virtually disappeared through refurbishments. The history of the abuse done to the mothers and babies continues to be covered up in this country. We will be demonstrating to demand an end to the secrecy!”

Ms O’Keeffe said she reached out to others to help organise something in Limerick as she felt that there needed to be a campaign of political pressure to force the government to reverse their decision:
“We have also put together a petition asking the government TDs in Limerick city – Willie O’Dea, Kieran O’Donnell and Brian Leddin – to reverse their decision to seal the mother and baby homes’ archive and commit to repealing this bill.
“We’re hoping as many people as possible will sign it by Thursday when we plan to present it to each of the TDs. There is a massive opportunity now for the wider Limerick public to stand with survivors and say very clearly that they will never have to stand on their own again.
Ms JAckson concluded by saying that campaigners were very conscious of the need to protect public health
“Both the protest on Friday and the one on Saturday will be socially distanced and we will be asking anyone planning to attend to wear a mask,” she added.