Institutionalised Lives in Ireland

 Forced Labour

During the Irish State’s infancy and right up to modern times, a variety forced labour institutions under the control of the Church and sanctioned by the State, robbed men, women and children of the basic human rights we hold dear today as Irish and European citizens. The institutions took three forms, Mother & Baby homes, Industrial Schools and the Magdalen Asylum for Penitent Females a.k.a. Magdalen Laundries. The idea behind these institutions was to provide for the vulnerable, people of all ages, on the island of Ireland. Although, they were regarded as religious penitentiaries where, in actuality, many of the inmates were subjected to horrific atrocities that can only be described as criminal.

Many were sent for the “crime” of being unmarried and pregnant, and they worked without pay in the laundries which supplied services to State-run bodies, hospitals and hotels. Kitty Holland, Irish Times, Online, 25th August, 2017

On Friday, August 25th, 2017, at the site of one of the last Magdalene Laundry (closed in 1996, on Sean McDermott Street, Dublin) the community came together to seek justice for the many victims of the Magdalene Laundry’s.  In attendance were a number of surviving victims  who bravely stood up and shared their experiences. The stories are heart breaking. Please take some time to see our videos of their moving stories.

Today, the Irish Government has recognised the need for reparations and recognition of the atrocities suffered by men, women and children across Ireland at the hands of the Church under the authority of the State.   But, it is not enough. At a bare minimum we are seeking that this Magdalene Laundry site host a decent memorial, so that this is not another atrocity minimized or wiped from our memories. We in HOPE support public consultation on the use of the site to be sold by Dublin City Council and in particular, we support a suitable memorial to the woman and children who suffered behind those walls.

Institutional Syndrome

Also known as ‘institutionalisation‘, refers to deficits or disabilities in social and life skills, which develop after a person has spent a long period living in residential institutions. In other words, individuals in institutions may be deprived (whether unintentionally or not) of independence and of responsibility, to the point that once they return to “outside life” they are often unable to manage many of its demands; it has also been argued that institutionalised individuals become psychologically more prone to mental health problems.

Direct Provision

With the closure of the industrial schools, magdalene asylums, and the mother & baby homes, it was thought that institutionalistion was to become a thing of the past. Instead, the institutional syndrome has shifted from one vulnrable group to another. Direct provision is the system for dealing with migrants seeking asylum in the Republic of Ireland.

Today, many asylum seekers in the State’s direct provision system spend years in conditions which most agree are damaging to the health, welfare and life-chances of those forced to endure them. Asylum seekers are not allowed to work. They are not entitled to social welfare. And they are excluded from social housing and free third-level education. In all, more than 4,300 people, including 1,600 children, live in 34 accommodation centres spread across the State. Carl O’Brien & Sinead O’Shea, The Irish Times Online, 8th August 2017


Irish institution survivors share their experiences. A compilation of video clips recorded at the rally for an Honourable Magdalene Memorial, Sean McDermott Street Magdalene Asylum (closed in 1996), Friday 25th August, 2017.


If you have been affected by the contents of this article in anyway, please do feel free to reach out. H.O.P.E. is here to support the community in anyway we can. As well, for further support, please find some external links below:

Dublin Honours Magdalens

The Alliance Victim Support Group

Residential Institutions Redress Board

Towards Healing

Coalition of Mother & Baby Home Survivors

Justice for Magdalene Laundries

Oasis Counselling

The Irish Immigrant Support Centre –

Irish Refugee Council


Hands on Peer Education, is a front-line service in the north inner city, where those suffering with addiction and their families can get access to much needed support and treatment options. H.O.P.E. facilitates and advocates for recovery through abstinence. We also offer a wide range of advocacy services. H.O.P.E.’s free and confidential drop-in clinic is open from 10am ‘til 1pm, Monday to Friday.

Now that you’re here

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Many thanks from the team in H.O.P.E.

First Annual Community Day 2016

Unity in the Community 2016

Our Lady of Lourdes Church Volunteer playing games

Last Wednesday, 10th August 2016, HOPE played host to the North Inner City’s first annual Community Unity Day Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Sean McDermott Street. This was made possible through a financial contribution from the Croke Park community fund. This was truly a community event with many contributors. We would like to say a big thank you to Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Dublin City Council, An Garda Síochana, The Crinan Youth Project, The Fire Station Artist Studios, Urban Soul, The Home of the Elderly at Our Lady of Lourdes, and Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Without whom, the day’s success would not have been possible.

Crinan Youth Project playing games


The Firehouse Project Exhibition
The Firehouse Station Artist Studio
Urban Soul painting faces
Complimentary ice cream for all guests
Complimentary ice cream for all guests
Urban Soul teaching kids how to fly
Kids waiting for their turn on Urban Soul’s obstacle course
“I don’t like magic”
Magic Show in the Curch
Complimentary meal for all guests
Community Guests

WE are already counting down the days ’til next year’s event.

Facebook Photos

“North Inner City Dublin”

From Community Unity Day 2016. Posted by HOPE Hands On Peer Education on 8/11/2016 (52 items)

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