The grave for Magdalene women in Bohermore Cemetery must have the names of those buried in it inscribed on the headstone, to at least provide some posthumous dignity to the deceased.
This is the view of Independent city councillor Catherine Connolly who described as “distressing”, the fact that the single black marble headstone reads ‘In loving memory of those who died at the Magdalene Home’ but does not record the names of the women buried there.
A number of the former residents of the Magdalene Laundry in Galway are buried in Bohermore Cemetery and the Galway City Council has confirmed that the former residents are buried in two different rows, numbered three and 13. The largest grave contains an as yet unknown number of women whose names are not marked.
Cllr Connolly is calling for the names of the women to be recorded and inscribed on the headstone. The Galway City Council is assisting in this matter and will provide confirmation on the total number of former residents buried in Bohermore and provide the list of names of those buried there.
However Cllr Connolly pointed out that this information was freely available to the McAleese Commission. Yet, apart from a reference to the Bohermore Cemetery as a graveyard where some former residents were buried, there was no attempt to highlight and/or question why the women were buried without a name.
Cllr Connolly said the Sisters of Mercy, who ran the Magdalene Laundry in Galway between 1922 and 1984, “can have a very positive role to play” in this issue.
She has also called on the order to give the former industrial school building in Taylor’s Hill - formerly leased by the HSE West but now lying idle - to the council in trust for the public.
“The building could be used as a wonderful memorial both for the former children of the industrial school as well as the former residents of the Magdalene Laundry,” she said. “The two buildings were intimately connected and run by the Sisters of Mercy.”
Cllr Connolly will raise these matters at the next city council meeting on Monday March 11.