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NWCI turns down invite to official State event with the Pope, and Stands for Truth

Published: Friday, August 24, 2018

Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) this week wrote to An Taoiseach to outline the organisations’ reasons for turning down an invite to attend the State’s official event with the Pope in Dublin Castle. NWCI will join other organisations and survivors at the Stand for Truth event on Sunday.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“There are many reasons, as Director of NWCI, for me to refuse the invitation to the State’s official event with the Pope. The Catholic Church was a central powerful force against the advancement of women’s rights and equality, since the foundation of the Irish state. It continues to promulgate a misogynistic, patriarchal and discriminatory ethos, and to use its influence throughout the world to block progression for women. Specifically, the Catholic Church seeks to deny women’s reproductive health and promote a model of family formation that relegates lone parent and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families to second class status.”

Orla O’Connor continued,

“Of particular relevance for NWCI is the treatment of our most vulnerable citizens in Magdalene Laundries and Mother and Baby Homes, industrial schools and reformatory schools, which represents a deep stain on our past and has left deep trauma and scars for many women and families throughout Ireland. The abuse was facilitated and continues to be covered up by the Catholic Church at the highest level, through its failure to be transparent, provide accountability and implement the necessary structural change. To this day, the Church refuses to hand over records to women who were incarcerated in Magdalene Laundries and Mother and Baby Homes.”

Orla O’Connor concluded,

‪”We know that these issues are not just historic. In recent weeks, we have witnessed the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion healthcare in Argentina, news of yet another cover up of child sex abuse in Pennsylvania, and of course, the ongoing vista of religious orders not honouring financial commitments to survivors. The Pope, as head of the Catholic Church and Vatican State, embodies these misogynistic values, ethos and policies. In the National Women’s Council of Ireland, we stand in solidarity with survivors. We stand for truth.

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