UCD Law Human Rights Centre and the Human Rights Clinic host conversation with Magdalene survivors for Women's Day
L-R Rory Geoghegan, Julia Canney, Mary Merritt, Maeve O'Rourke
On March 6th, in anticipation of International Women’s Day, UCD Centre for Human Rights and the Human Rights Clinic at UCD Law School welcomed three survivors of Magdalene Laundries, Industrial Schools and Mother and Baby Homes to the School of Law, to engage in conversation and to honour their experiences and contributions to Irish society’s ongoing reckoning with its legacy of discrimination and institutional abuse.
Introducing the women, Maeve O’Rourke (barrister and Human Rights Clinic instructor) noted that Gabrielle O’Gorman and Mary Merritt have been speaking in the media about the Magdalene Laundries and writing to elected representatives for decades, starting before the last Magdalene institution closed, in 1996, at Sean McDermott Street in Dublin. Maeve noted that the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, ‘Be Bold For Change’, was a perfect description of the message that these women would impart to the students present. Mary Merritt (pictured), aged 85, urged the students to use their education to ensure that nothing similar is ever allowed to happen in Ireland again. Suzanne Egan, Director of the UCD Centre for Human Rights, thanked the women on behalf of the Centre and the Law School for sharing their experiences with the students and for inspiring them to use their knowledge of human rights to tackle injustice wherever they see it in their own lives.
Students in the Human Rights Clinic at UCD Law School are assisting with the Clann Project (www.clannproject.org), an initiative of Justice for Magdalenes Research and Adoption Rights Alliance which is gathering evidence and assisting individuals in engaging with the ongoing Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters.
Julia Canney from the UCD Human Rights Clinic in conversation with Mary Merritt.