Who are the Sisters of Charity?
The Sisters of Charity is a Roman Catholic religious institute that was founded in the 1800s. The institute has it’s headquarters in Dublin, but has branches in England, Scotland, Nigeria, Zambia, the United States and Venezuela. The Sisters of Charity also set up St. Vincent’s University Hospital, a hospice and is now becoming the sole owner of the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin.
Why is there such uproar?
The Sisters of Charity are one of the eighteen religious institutions that has been investigated in regards to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, or the Ryan report, as it is also known. The Sisters of Charity offered to contribute €5 million towards the redress costs incurred by the State, to compensate the victims of these institutes. However, the Sisters of Charity have only paid €2 million to date.
The Sisters of Charity were one of the few institutions that were involved in the running of the Magdalene Laundries, also referred to as the Magdalene asylums. The Sisters of Charity are one of the four organisations to ignore the UN’s request to compensate the women who were in the ‘care’ of these asylums. In 2013, the Sisters of Charity announced that they would not contribute to the State redress scheme for women who had been in the asylums.
A secular society
The Irish State has always had a special relationship with the Catholic Church. When Ireland gained independence in 1922, Catholicism became a symbol of Irish identity. Many left-wing parties support and encourage the idea of a secular society. However, due to our fundamentally right-wing government, almost 100 years later, we still have major issues in regards to Church and State.
Religious ideology still dominates areas of society, especially in regards to women’s reproductive choices. Time and time again, we have seen the harrowing consequences women have had to endure to the States love for the Catholic Church; their opposition to contraception, their support of Mother and Baby homes etc. (To see this information in more detail, I’ve written an article about it here.) In recent times, the Repeal movement has seen great opposition by religious devotees.
It should therefore be glaringly obvious that the sole-owners of Ireland’s National Maternity Hospital should not be a Roman Catholic institute that has been investigated for child abuse and the torture of hundreds of women. If you’re outraged by this, consider signing the petition that will attempt to block the Sisters of Charity becoming the sole owners of the National Maternity Hospital.
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