A WOMAN whose grandmother was sent to a Magdalene laundry and whose mother was raised in an industrial school is hoping that the report into Mother and Baby Homes will be transparent for survivors.
Laura Angela Collins’s grandmother, Angela Collins, ended up in St Vincent’s Magdalene laundry in Cork city while Angela’s three children were also taken into institutions. One was adopted, another died by suicide and the third, Mary, is a survivor of Rushbrooke Industrial School in Cobh.
Laura Angela said her grandmother was taken from a halting site on the side of the road and put into the County Home, before being sent to the Magdalene laundry because she was an unmarried mother of three children. Laura Angela and Mary also believe that she was one of many Traveller women who ended up in Irish institutions, and they wonder why this has not been recognized.
Mary contributed her story to the McAleese report on the Magdalene laundries which was published in 2013, and also to the controversial Mother and Baby Homes report which was the subject in recent weeks of controversial legislation.
The report was delivered to the Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman, last week, before its expected publication shortly. However, before it was given to Minister O’Gorman, it was initially planned that it could not be accessed because of data protection issues. However, this policy has now been changed.
Mary does not remember life before entering the industrial school as she was just two and a half years old, according to Laura Angela. She said last week’s controversy on the Mother and Baby Homes report has caused her mother great trauma.
Angela died in 1988 at the age of 57 years old, and lies in a mass grave in St Finbarr’s cemetery. Attempts by the family to have Angela’s remains exhumed have so far failed. She had been in the Magdalene laundry for 27 years.
Laura Angela says her mother, grandmother and other Travellers who were put into industrial schools, Magdalene laundries and other institutions should receive an apology from the State for what they went through.
And she said: “I hope that the report will be transparent and that people get the access to information that they deserve. Throughout the years, it has all been about secrecy.”
Laura Angela said that the controversy of recent weeks has resulted in a flare of post traumatic stress disorder, which she suffers as a result of her years in the industrial school.
The State issued an apology through the then Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, in 2013 to the survivors of the Magdalene laundries.