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Campaigners fear that the Sean MacDermott street building could meet a similar fate. There are walls 20 feet tall with crucifixes I know women currently in their thirties who were incarcerated there.

Women of Ireland in History & Mythology (Mná na hÉireann, Irish Mythology, Early Irish Society)

But opinion is divided over what a site of conscience should include. Their opinions were mixed, she says; some women wanted to see Sean MacDermott street demolished, while others suggested it be turned into social housing.

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Some said it should be used as a memorial site, with a peaceful space for reflection — such as a garden. Many women desperately want to meet other survivors to talk about their experiences together. Mandatory silent meditation within the laundries also limited opportunities to exchange details.


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Persistent stigma meant many women and girls avoided mentioning any personal information about their lives, she says. And although memorialisation is important, women also need greater transparency. I helped her contact the Sisters of Mercy, who ran the laundry.

The fate of Ireland's prisons for "fallen women" is exposing a painful history

They could only offer her a single line from a ledger for the years she spent there. Far from being firmly in the past, a legacy of shame still affects many women today. We need to address this in the way we address the famine, Irish independence, immigration. These are all as much part of the Irish story as anything else. Sign up. Mary Robinson, then a Senator, became our first President.

Martina Devlin salutes the trailblazing women who drove change in Ireland

Unfortunately in , this was not the case. Single pregnant women were often thrown out of their homes, lost their jobs and were rejected by their communities. It was extremely difficult for them to keep and raise their children themselves.


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Cherish was set up to provide such women and children with a voice, empowering women to help themselves and their families. As an organisation, Cherish not only provided services to single parents and their children, but also campaigned for change. Senator Mary Henry became the next President of Cherish.

Ireland has changed utterly: the cruel eighth amendment is history

In recognition of these changes, we extended our services to all members of all one-parent families and renamed ourselves One Family. We also said farewell to Cherish House. To enable us to provide services to more clients in a building that meets their needs, we moved to a newer building in Smithfield.

We took all of the memories of Cherish House with us as we supported many more families to create happier futures.