Until recently, the Catholic Church, in concert with the Irish state, operated a network of institutions for the concealment, punishment and exploitation of ‘fallen women’. In the Magdalene laundries, girls and women were incarcerated and condemned to servitude. And in the mother-and-baby homes, women who had become pregnant out of wedlock were hidden from view, and in most cases their babies were adopted – sometimes illegally. Mortality rates in these institutions were high, and the discovery of a mass infant grave at the mother-and-baby home in Tuam made news all over the world. The Irish state has commissioned investigations, but for countless people, a search for answers continues.
Caelainn Hogan’s journalism has featured in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Guardian and the Irish Times. Republic of Shame is her first book.
Sarah-Anne Buckley is a lecturer in the Department of History at NUI Galway. Her main research interests are in the history of child welfare in Ireland and Britain
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