During the 20th century, a significant proportion of the Irish population was incarcerated in a network of institutions. These ranged from Magdalene laundries where ‘troublesome’ women were put into servitude, to industrial schools for children that were famed for their cruelty. Journalist Caelainn Hogan is the author of Republic of Shame: Stories from Ireland’s Institutions for ‘Fallen Women’. In this interview, Hogan explains how this dark side of Irish society is a much more recent phenomenon than commonly thought. She tells the story of one Mother and Baby home that was only founded in the 1980s, and closed in 2006. Born to unmarried parents herself, Hogan explains how her own family history gave what she discovered additional poignancy as she tells the story of women still searching for their lost children, and adopted people struggling to uncover their origins.
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Editing by Alan Meaney.