Colin Murphy: Ireland was abusing its unwed mothers even before there was Church and state collusion

Twentieth-century Ireland was one of the most repressive sexual cultures in the world. Much of that is on the Catholic Church, but not all of it

17th January, 2021
Colin Murphy: Ireland was abusing its unwed mothers even before there was Church and state collusion
A shrine in Tuam, Co Galway, erected in memory of up to 800 children buried at the site of the former mother and baby home

In February 1935 the parish priest in Westport wrote to the Archbishop of Tuam to report that a local girl had had an “illegitimate” child. The baby had died within days, from natural causes. “A denunciation will take place on Sunday next,” he informed his superior.

That denunciations from the altar happened is not news. But to denounce a young woman – who may herself, as his language indicated, have been legally...

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