A Dublin woman has succeeded in her attempts to get the media to focus on Magdalene Laundries by trending on Twitter days ahead of the publication of a government report into the scandal.
Samantha Long’s mother was taken into the Laundries when she was just two years of age.The laundries were operated by religious orders and used unmarried mothers and their offspring as cheap labor.
Her daughter’s tweets revealed that she left the Catholic church run Laundries 49 years later, in a coffin after dying of ‘slave related injuries.’
Disbelief followed Samantha’s first emotive tweet which simply read: “My mother was Magdalene No. 322. Real name Margaret.”
TheJournal.ie reports that the first tweet from Samantha was met with amazement that Magdalenes were given numbers.
Speaking to the site, Samantha confirmed that numbers were issued: “Yes, I was looking over her records today and thought I’d share that. Awful.”
The report says Samantha’s late mother Margaret Bullen was taken into the Magdalene Laundries system when she was just two years old.
Samantha decided to share her family’s story before the government publishes a detailed report on the Laundries on Tuesday.
She has also mounted a successful campaign to get the hashtag #justiceformagdalenesNOW trending on Twitter to raise awareness.
The story adds that the Dublin woman’s provocative, powerful and heartbreaking tweets have achieved that aim.
TheJournal.ie has reproduced a timeline of the tweets.
“My mother was Magdalene No. 322. Real name Margaret.
Margaret was committed to industrial school in 1954. She was 2 yrs 4 mths old. She left 49 years later in a coffin.
By the age of 5, Margaret was preparing breakfast for 70 children including herself from 4am. Child labour
Margaret was noted in her records as ‘nervous, timid, fretful, a bed-wetter’. No wonder, she was never toilet trained
Margaret didn’t know where she was from or when her birthday was. We told her when she was 42
At age 13, Margaret had her IQ measured. She was ‘certified’ as fit for work, unfit for education. Labour camps.
Margaret never lived in the outside world, although she lived just off O’Connell Street in our capital city.
Margaret didn’t know how to handle money. She had none, and no possessions.
Margaret never went on a date, Never had a boyfriend. Never fell in love. But she was impregnated in care.
Margaret’s twin daughters were taken from her 7 weeks after she gave birth. When she saw us again we were 23.
When we reunited at the Gresham, Margaret was 42. Not that you’d think it At The Gresham in 1995, Margaret was excited. Not just to meet us, but it was the first time she ever tasted coffee.”
When I became a mother in 2004, it was the first time I allowed myself to grieve for Margaret’s life unlived, denials.
Margaret and my family enjoyed each other for a few years, hard to recreate deep love after so long
Margaret died in July 2003, one day before her 51st birthday. She died of her slave related injuries.
Six months after her death, her first grandchild was born. She would have loved her four grandchildren.
I hope for justice for Margaret and her friends on Tuesday. Thank you all so much for the support. I think she knows.
I am astounded at the reaction to my tweets about Margaret. Impossible to reply to all. Thank you, I am humbled.
Goodnight all, finally. Míle buíochas #justiceformagdalenesNOW.
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The government report, compiled by former senator Martin McAleese, will be published in full on Tuesday afternoon by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter following a Cabinet meeting.
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