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“Paul”- Born in a Magdalene Laundry

 “Paul” - not his real name – contacted Kildare Today as a result of listening to an interview, in the Podcast section of www.kfmradio.com, with Kathleen (done on Kildare Today last year) about her time in the Castlepollard Magdalene Laundry in county Westmeath, where she had been sent by her family and local priest against her will after becoming pregnant as a single woman. “Paul” spent his first four years in what was then known as the Castlepollard Mother and Baby home – two years without his mother, followed by more years in a Tullamore convent school – during which he was accommodated in the local County Home, followed by years in the infamous Letterfrack in Connemara, and, finally, after that in an Industrial school in Galway City until leaving at the age of 16. He had done nothing wrong ever, other than to be left there by his mother who felt, in the unforgiving Ireland of the time, that he would be better cared for.  This is not how it turned out! He survived the 16 brutal years of abuse and isolation in institutional care to educate himself to Third Level, became a teacher and then a psychologist, and reconciled with his mother. Today, in his late 60’s, he is writing his memoirs and seeking information from anyone about the various institutions in which he was confined.  (If you can help, contact Kfm!) In a most moving interview, he told Clem Ryan on Wednesday’s Kildare Today (07/03/2012) about his extraordinary life – from desolation to reconciliation.

TP Waters