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Gillie Nicholls creates reflection on the Magdalene Laundries of Ireland.

Updated: Aug 15, 2022

Staffordshire-based sculptor, Gille Nicholls, has revealed her latest work, entitled ".....Shhhh!" which was inspired by the sickening story of the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland.

From the 18th to the late 20th century, The Catholic Church "took in" over 30,000 pregnant young girls and forced them to work in the laundry. Many gave birth alone and were provided with no pain relief. As a result, the mortality rate was an astonishing 50% and the little bodies were unceremoniously dumped into unmarked graves. Any mothers dying during labour suffered the same fate. The surviving babies were immediately taken from the mothers and sold, often to childless American couples.

Gillie explained that "It breaks my heart that these girls were punished so severely for their naivety."

Note : The laundries still existed as late as the 1970s. In 2013, the Irish Government issued an official state apology, stating that the laundries were "the nation's shame". The religious institutes, the Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, and Sisters of Charity, have refused demands from the Irish government, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee Against Torture to contribute to the compensation fund for surviving victims.

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