The Shame of Ireland
Published: July 28, 2011
by TOM FOOT
A SURVIVOR of Irish convent abuse who set up a pioneering group to help victims living in London says she has been pushed out of her job because of her age.
Outreach worker Phyllis Morgan, 66, will leave the London Irish Centre at Camden Square tomorrow (Friday).
She has worked there for more than 10 years, running the London Irish Survivors Outreach Service and helping thousands of victims who were abused in religious convents as children. Ms Morgan said: “I love my work and I don’t see why I should have to leave because of my age. They are doing this before the law changes.”
New rules banning employers from firing staff because they have reached the retirement age comes into effect in October.
David Barlow, the Irish Centre’s new director, said its board had been in retirement talks with Ms Morgan for two years.
He told the New Journal that her contract had been temporarily extended when she reached 65 but that to comment further would break employment rules.
Mr Barlow stressed that the service was not closing and that board members had been in talks with Irish ministers this week about the continued funding of the project.
He added: “Services for victims of abuse will continue.
“The London Irish Centre takes its commitment to survivors very seriously.”
Ms Morgan was a victim of the physical and mental abuse suffered by tens of thousands of children placed in the care of Catholic religious orders.
At the age of three, she was separated from her mother and placed in the full-time care of nuns.
She told how she would eat pig food because it was better than what was offered to her. “We were treated worse than pigs,” she added.
Ms Morgan said she spent her entire childhood at three convents in the Dublin area, where she claims the nuns abused her.
“Children were placed in these convents for various reasons,” she said.
“They were all over Ireland and many fled to come here to Camden. The are all such a vulnerable group.
“They are not able to hold down jobs because they were so damaged – many were repeatedly raped.
“Many live in dire homes and we get them into better homes. We help them get compensation. We have made a difference to so many lives. It is unbelievable how busy we are.”
The last of the 132 convents of this kind was shut down in 1986. The Irish government issued guidance following an inquiry in 2009 that a state-funded support service should be provided for all victims.
The Camden-based survivors service is funded by Ireland’s Department of Education and costs around £94,000 a year.
Thats a LIE.........The last Magdalene laundy,Sean Mc Dermott St,Dublin closed down in late 1996.
I think it was more of a typo, John...1986 was probably supposed to be 1996, but some of these reporters never bother to check for accuracy. I also wonder where they got the number '132' institutions? Are they referring to both industrial schools AND laundries, because as far as I know there were only 10 identified Magdalene Laundries from the formation of the Free State. Again, sloppy journalism...wish they'd fact-check!
A grant of £240,000 to London's Camden Irish Centre has been frozen after complaints from victims of clerical child abuse in Ireland.
The National Lottery suspended the payout after members of the Irish Survivors of Child Abuse (Soca) group claimed they had been barred from the centre.
A letter to Irish Soca from the lottery headquarters confirms that an investigation is under way into the running of the centre, which has catered for the Irish community in London for half a century.
Irish Soca, whose members comprise former inmates of Ireland's notorious Industrial Schools, claim the centre refused them access in May 2000 to a public meeting about clerical child sex abuse. The group wanted a platform to challenge Irish government officials about a proposed inquiry into widespread allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the church-run Industrial Schools.
In a letter from Dixit Chauhan, the lottery's grants business manager, Irish Soca was assured that the grant would not be handed over until its investigation was completed.
'As part of the investigation, a member of my team has been in further contact, in order to establish whether the organisation is in breach of the community funds terms and conditions of grant award, and will continue to do so until we are able to reach a conclusion,' he writes.
One of the victims of abuse at Artane Industrial School in north Dublin, Jim Beresford, welcomed last night the lottery's decision.
Beresford was held at Artane between 1961 and 1963, after the Irish state decided his parents were 'unfit' to look after him. He was committed by the courts to Artane after members of the Catholic lay group, the Legion of Mary, reported his mother to the authorities. Her crime was to mention to them that she was having some marital problems with her English husband, who was an agnostic. Beresford described his experiences at Artane as 'two years of hell'.
Children as young as five and six were used as slave labour in the schools; many were beaten up and sexually assaulted by members of religious orders, particularly the Christian Brothers.
Speaking from his home in Huddersfield, Beresford said Irish Soca objected to the lottery grant because the centre excluded them from a public platform.
'We came down to Camden from all over Britain to speak at this meeting. The Irish government had sent representatives to the meeting and we wanted to challenge their version of events. Our experiences in those schools did not match their side of the story and we wanted a chance to speak.
'Instead we were locked out of that meeting and the priests who run the centre tried to get us moved on when we protested outside, even though we had permission from the police.'
There is no connection between the Camden managers and the priests at the Irish schools.
'Our argument is that this centre is not all-inclusive for the entire Irish community and therefore it would be inappropriate for lottery money to be allocated.'
Beresford said Irish Soca also raised concerns about the role of the Oblate Catholic order in running the centre. He pointed out that the Order is currently in dispute with the Irish government's own inquiry into clerical sex abuse in industrial schools, the Laffoy Commission.
The National Lottery initially awarded £240,000 to the Camden Irish Centre in November. The centre also receives considerable financial support from the Irish government. Its director, Father Jerry Kivlehan, has asked Dublin for a 500 per cent increase in aid.
We the real Survivors are nothing but PAWN'S in their POLITICAL Game , the whole sorded business is now GRIPPED IN POLITICS. we are been used by Politicians as Adults. We are in a DICTATORSHIP, They tell us nothing ,make decisions about us, use our NAME'S without informing us and without our permission, They Dictate everything in Secret, We over the last 15 years have had NO way of finding out which of those groups have had and still use and our names on their LIST's saying they REPRESENT US IN ORDER THAT THEY CONTINUE RECIEVING THEIR HUGE FUNDING. >as those so called Group Leaders DO NOT and have not had any comunication with us , I speak for myself I Never hear from any of those Groups, or so called Services. How many of the Survivors from the 1940's 1950's Industrial eara have received real HELP from any of those groups ??? We don't know, WHO KNOW's???does anyone care ??? I know I HAVENT< How many have already DIED????? do they have any Idea?? .how many are elderly SICK, ALONE. how many are still HOMELESS???? How many live in Poverty???? How many are living in Forced Exile ,How many are to frightened to go back to THEIR OWN COUNTRY???. FOR GOING OVER TO IRELAND BRINGS BACK THE nightmares and HORROR'S of their BRUTAL childhood which is very disturbing, How many have foung themselves Pushed out LEFT ABANDOND , DAMAGED .It seems to me NONE of those so called services give a Fiddlers Fart about Survivors REAL NEEDS as long as they keep themselves and their friends in their JOB's , that's all we survivors are to them. I also wonder if I am a Reluctent member of the Voteing public for LABOUR PARTY UK is my name on their list??? Who KNows, Seem's to me also unless Survivors live in Dublin Or London we may as well be DEAD. I am not Religious The brutiality I suffered as a child in the name of Religion The day I walked out of the Child prison gate's I left their Religion well locked at the other side of the gate for religion was used as a Brutal punishment on us children ,I saw a copy of their drawing of their Memorial it look's like a Religious one as I am not Religious It is an Insult and against my HUMAN RIGHTS. WE WERE NOT EVEN INFORMED, >WHO ARE THEY WHO MADE THIS DECISION. That should NOT happen until all the Survivors are accounted for and all have received proper Justice. THE BULLYING HAS TO STOP for that is what it is . I still have memories of terrible things that happened to certain children and have NOT had any way of finding our where or how they are ,if they are still alive .where are they buried, are Survivors alone in cold Graves without a visitor or anyone remembering them??, This memorial they are pushing before we are all dead should have several walls for each Industrial school with all the names of all the children who were detained in those Sadistic Brutal child damaging Instutions. wouldn't take up that much space ,are we not worth that??.
I will not and have Never forgotten the girl who was Burnt she was covered with bandages that stuck to the puss that smelt because noone bothered to clean her wounds she used to scream in pain I witnessd one of the Nun's beating her because the child was crying in pain then locked the child in the Linen cupboard ,that child suddenly disappeard from GB never saw her again, and yes I have every right to wonder what happened to her and others, she has been forgotten , I do NOT beleive any amount of counselling will do any good , in fact I beleive it causes more damage bringing back all the Horrors for an hour and then having to walk alone out into the street with the Deep horrific memories opened up ,The Counsellor get's paid well for their services it's their JOB and the survivor feels more alone , and totally islotated especially those who have not received and help from those so called services who keep getting huge funding in the survivors NAME. The Memorial is an Insult and should not happen UNTIL ALL The survivors are accounted for and real JUSTICE is done to all SURVIVORS >> Not just for the handful chosen by the Politicians. It's all been a total Whitewash.
you are right to not forget others. perhaps this women will read this and know that she isint forgotten by all. I hope so . these memories can be so painfull that thay stay locked in someones mind somewhere for years and years. in fact a lifetime of remembering is part and parcel of the effects of abuse.
"in fact a lifetime of remembering is part and parcel of the effects of abuse"
yes indeed and it can also be said in many cases the intention
in answer to your question NO the girl who was burnt WAS NOT HER IN DUBLIN. the girl burnt was young and had gone from Goldenbridge overnight we never saw nor heard of her again.
looks like the memorial is to the dead. as for the politics and games. in Ireland there are not too many political partys. it should not be difficult to identify which of these Irish political partys are guilty involved in decades of child abuse and coverup.
De Valera , otherwise big nose .
a relation nursed him before he expired.
So The camden Town Irish Centre get funding for survivors and say they run the womens group does that womens group include Women who were NOT in detention in Ireland's Industrial schools. I knew Phillis Morgan but I have not a clue what that centre does for survivors now . I have not heard nor received any correspondence from them, Is my name on their list >Who Knows , ROB I have checked all over the Internet and must say > The whole sorded business about so called Justice for the Survivors is Far More CORRUPT THAN FIRST THOUGHT.