View PhotoPress Association – Maureen Sullivan of Magdalene Survivors Together speaks at their press conference
Maureen Sullivan is the youngest known survivor admitted to one of the Magdalene laundries.
She was an innocent 12-year-old child when taken from her school in Co Carlow and put in the Good Shepherd Magdalene Laundry in New Ross, Co Wexford, because her father died and mother remarried.
Ms Sullivan said she was told that this place would further her education, but she never saw her schoolbooks again.
For 48 years she had been haunted by memories of a lost childhood and slave labour and is demanding a full apology from the Government and religious orders for stealing her education, name, identity and life.
“I feel that they are still in denial, but other parts of this report clearly state that we were telling the truth,” she said.
By day she worked in the laundry, was fed bread and dripping, and then made Aran sweaters or rosary beads before going to bed at night in St Aidan’s Industrial School.
“It was long, hard tedious work and because I was small they made a timber box,” said the 60-year-old.
“I remember being hidden in a tunnel when the school inspectors came.
I can only assume that this was due to the fact that I should not have been working in the laundry.”
Even at the weekends, the youngster was forced to clean the floors of the local church when she should have been out playing, enjoying life and meeting other children.