Collins family from the UK shell-shocked as they are locked out by Department of Justice

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Human Rights, Justice

Statement from Survivor Groups

The Collin’s family return visit to Ireland for justice ended in shock and tears today as the Department of Justice locked their doors and secured the building as the family and their supporters arrived. Despite pleas through the windows to accept the letter they had traveled from London to deliver, officials inside point blank refused although arrangements had been made in advance with the Garda. After an upset and tearful protest on the steps of the Department building on Stephen’s Green, a decent uniformed Garda on duty, accepted the letter and brought it inside although he had difficulty in doing so.

The March for Justice began at the Dail and set off for the GPO where some 20 peaceful protesters held a noisy demonstration and chanted for justice prompting lots of support from passers by. It was noted that 99 years ago in the same spot, Padraig Pearse had read the 1916 Proclamation promising to “cherish all the children of the nation equally” – a promised successive Governments have clearly failed to keep.

The March returned to the Mansion House where the staff on behalf on the Lord Mayor, graciously accepted a copy of the letter the Collins family had written.

The day turned to disaster as the family and their supporters watched in disbelief as the staff in the Department of Justice pulled the security doors shut as they saw the family arriving. Arrangements had been made with the Garda to clear the March and facilitate the delivery of the letter demanding justice but the officials inside refused to open the doors even a tiny crack to accept the letter.

The Collins family were joined by members of the Coalition of Mother And Baby home Survivors (CMABS) and representatives from many of the Mother and Baby home groups as well as former inmates from Industrial Schools and Magdalene Laundries all standing in solidarity.

For full text of the letter to Minister Francis Fitzgerald see:
Mary Collins said:

“I was disgusted at the Department of justice closing the doors in our faces especially after coming from London for a peaceful protest.”
Laura Collins said:

“I am absolutely disgusted by our treatment by the Garda at the Dail and later at the Department of Justice who slammed their doors in our face as we approached. It’s sad the way this Government doesn’t care about it’s own citizens when we should come first.”

Paul Redmond of CMABS said:

“It is a national disgrace that survivors are still having doors slammed in their faces almost a century after this nation was founded on a many principles including cherishing all the children of the nation equally. Minister Fitzgerald owes the Collins family an immediate apology and action on their issues.
David Kinsella is a member of Coalition of Mother & Baby Home Survivors (CMABS) and a survivor of Saint Patricks on the Navan Road, a notorious Mother and Baby home. David said:

“I’m very saddened today because of the lack of support from some survivor groups.It’s a disgrace only 20 people turned up out of the hundreds of people involved in survivor groups especially as some good people traveled from as far as Tuam, County Galway. While the day turned out to be meaningful and successful, my main aim toady is to have a solicitor representing each of the 14 Homes in the Commission of Inquiry. The Catholic church in Ireland also needs to step forward and apologise as the Catholic church in Scotland did recently.”

Who are the Collins family?

Laura Collins~Stewart, granddaughter of Angela and daughter of Mary said on behalf of Justice4allMagdalen women and Children:

“Mary Collins is a survivor of an abusive industrial school. Mary was taken from her mother Angela Collins at the age of two, although social services records state her mother was a good mother. Regardless of the records, Angela Collins was put into a Magdalene laundry and her 3 children were stolen from her based on prejudices and lies. Angela died in the Magdalene laundries after working for 27 years because the nuns refused to give her the medical treatment she needed, as the medical records state. Angela’s body was later dumped into a mass grave with 72 other women.

Mary didn’t get an apology or justice on behalf of the murder and mistreatment of her Mum through the Redress for the industrial schools although they were all involved. So Mary carried on fighting for justice for her Mum and herself. And although Mary traveled all the way to Ireland in 2013 for the Magdalene apology, the Government excluded the dead women and children of the women from the Magdalene apology — regardless of the fact that as a child from the age of 7, Mary was part of a sick deal arranged by the Catholic Church for visits to the Magdalene laundries for 11 years of her life where Mary experienced vile abuse during and after her visits. Mary had her Mother wrongly taken away to be made a slave for 27 years of her life and to be murdered! Yet children like Mary in Ireland have been ignored. Angela Collins lies in a mass grave and her family wish to bury her in a more dignified place, yet their requests are also ignored. Where is the justice for these children and women?”

“Two years ago the Irish government apologised to the living women who entered the Magdalene laundry and forgot about the apology to the women who lost their life’s while under the care of the Irish government and Catholic Church and their children! Nothing is going to change unless we all stand strong! You cannot take someone’s life without consequences!”