Saturday 18 November 2017

Industrial school survivor kicked, slapped and 'forced to sleep with pigs for snoring'

The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Groups protest outside Leinster House
The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Groups protest outside Leinster House

A survivor of one of Ireland's industrial schools has claimed she was slapped, kicked, and "forced to sleep outside at night with pigs" if she snored too loudly.

Mary Collins also said her mother, Angela, was among those buried in a mass grave with 72 other women. Her mother had been forced to spend 27 years in a Magdalene laundry.

The 54-year-old claimed that at St Vincent's home in Cork, her mother was forced to give up her youngest child for what was an illegal adoption.

She also alleged her mother was denied vital medical treatment - and this eventually led to her death.


Mary, who now lives in London, said was just two when Angela was taken away and she was placed in an industrial school. She insisted records at the time stated Angela was "a good mother".

Yet both her daughters were taken away from her.

Mary joined a number of groups representing survivors of the Magdalene laundries, as well as industrial schools, who protested outside the Dáil yesterday.

They delivered a letter to Minister Frances Fitzgerald, calling for justice for the "forgotten families of the victims of institutional abuse".

They are demanding the government fast-track the redress scheme for aging survivors.

They also want free legal aid for those taking a case to the Mother & Baby Homes Commission.

Speaking to the Herald, Mary said her family is calling for the government, and the church, to support and fund those who wish to remove the remains of their loved ones from mass graves, so as to give them a proper burial.

She explained how she suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her horrific experiences in an industrial school.

"From a very young age, they used to tell me I was dirty and a vile human being," she said.

"I had urine thrown over my head and I was slapped in the face.

"I snored as a child and, for that reason, a nun used put me outside to sleep with the pigs. I begged her to stop but she never listened. I was just seven years old. My life was miserable, and whenever a nun stared at me, it was with a look of pure evil.

"One nun bashed my face off the table, which knocked out my front tooth.

"It was constant abuse, both mentally and physically. I was battered. It's left many scars."

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