Singer Sinead O’Connor has revealed she was a victim of the Magdalene Laundries scandal – and it affected her for life.
The ‘Nothing Compares 2U’ hit-maker has made the revelation in an interview with the Irish Sun newspaper.
She spoke out just 24 hours after the publication of a damning report on the Laundries which has highlighted state collusion with the Nuns who ran them.
O’Connor, now 46, has told the Irish Sun how she was just 14 when she was sent to the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity laundry in Dublin after she was labelled a ‘problem child.’
She told the paper:
“We were girls in there, not women, just children really. And the girls in there cried every day.
“It was a prison. We didn’t see our families, we were locked in, cut off from life, deprived of a normal childhood.
“We were told we were there because we were bad people. Some of the girls had been raped at home and not believed.
“One girl was in because she had a bad hip and her family didn’t know what to do with her. It was a great grief to us.”
The rock star explained how her 18 months in High Park in the Drumcondra suburb of Dublin left her so angry at the injustice that it was part of the reason she caused worldwide controversy by tearing up a picture of the Pope on live television.
“It wasn’t the only reason, but it was one of them.”
Lashing out at the Church’s ‘flaccid’ apology, O’Connor said she was ‘disgusted’ by it.
The mother-of-four said:
“They said something like, ‘We’re sorry for the hurt.’
“The word hurt doesn’t cover it. I am disgusted that the State won’t apologise. I’m disgusted at the tone of the Church’s flaccid apology. The Church is getting away with it again.”
Sinead, who has previously claimed she suffered abuse as a child, was sent to the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity Institute after she began stealing as a teenager.
“My worried dad thought he was doing the right thing by sending me to be rehabilitated.
He told me he even paid for the privilege of doing so.
“He thought he was doing the right thing. He was convinced into it. He paid them to take me. I never told him the truth of how bad it was.
“There was no rehabilitation there and no therapy. Nothing but people telling us we were terrible people. I stopped the stealing all right. I didn’t want to be sent back there. But at what cost?
Sinead O’Connor has demanded that Irish police find the baby she witnessed being ‘stolen’ by Magdalene Laundry nuns from a young mother. The singer claimed in the Irish Sun newspaper that she saw a newborn baby boy being ‘torn’ from a friend’s arms during her spell in a Dublin laundry.
The controversial rock star spent over a year in a Magdalene Laundry as a teenager.
The paper reports that she has now reported the traumatic baby incident to police in Wicklow. Officers have confirmed they have launched a criminal probe into the allegations.
O’Connor told the paper that she suspects a cover-up by those involved.
“On Friday I gave a formal statement to gardai (police). I am asking that any person who witnessed the gestation, nursing and/or removal of this child to please come forward also.
“In fact, any woman who has had a baby taken from them while in the care of one of these institutions should report the matter.
“Officers have told me that women need to come forward if this has happened to them.”
O’Connor told the Irish Sun she was ‘satisfied’ that detectives will now conduct a full investigation.
She had spent 18 months at High Park in Drumcondra after stealing as a teen.
The singer recalled:
“One morning I woke to hear my friend screaming. I ran out of my cubicle, I saw her surrounded by two or three nuns.
“They tore my friend’s baby from her arms. Her desperate beggings and pleadings and screams were ignored.
“She was physically overpowered and the baby was gone — with no trace of where he went.”
The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity have denied any knowledge of the incident now under investigation.
In a statement they said: “Our services never included mother and baby homes.”
See more: Irish Catholic Church