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Non Fiction

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We Don't Know Ourselves. A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958

Fintan O'Toole


Fintan O’Toole’s We Don’t Know Ourselves. A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958 (2021) includes references to:
a. The industrial schools system (established in 1868 to care for “neglected, orphaned and abandoned children”) and the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse in Ireland (established 2000). The Commission resulted in what’s known as Ryan Report (2009) and which concluded that many children had been subject to physical, sexual and emotional violence. Perpetrators were protected to preserve the reputation of the institutions.
b. Magdalen Laundries: institutions in which pregnant girls and women were incarcerated, often for the rest of their lives. Many of the children born in the laundries were transferred to the industrial schools.
c. Mother-and-baby homes, from which many children were sold to American families in a lucrative adoption business endorsed by the state.

O’Toole also tells the story of the Dunne family, one of whom in 1961 tried to expose the brutality going in the industrial schools but who couldn’t get his book published.

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