Here's an interesting twist in a current court case here in Ireland, where a woman is accused of murdering her husband over 20 years ago. A neighbour says that at one stage she saw the wife drugging the husband then dressing him in a skirt and tights before calling a doctor to say he was going mad, presumably in an attempt to have him taken away to a mental hospital. Looks like that didn't work, so plan B was put into action (or maybe not; have to presume innocence!).
The largely Catholic population of Ireland has tended to be averse to divorce. The position has changed in recent times with a sizeable increase in the number of divorces granted by the Irish Courts. Divorce was prohibited by the 1937 Constitution. While in 1986 the electorate rejected the possibility of allowing divorce in a referendum, the prohibition was ultimately repealed by a 1995 referendum which repealed the prohibition on divorce, despite Church opposition. Laws to give effect to the new position came into effect in 1997, making divorce possible for parties who are separated for four out of the preceding five years. Divorce will not be granted in the Republic of Ireland for any other criteria. It is more difficult to obtain a divorce in Ireland than in other jurisdictions.
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Please bear in mind that I have typed the above from the perspective of an Englishman who has not been to Ireland, but has only TV documentaries to go on. I am sure Kirbstone will be able to correct me on any errors I have made.
Things in the recent past still come out of the woodwork, no matter where you are from, I am from Liverpool originally, born in a time when unwanted kids were still 'being emigrated ' to Australia as cheap labour, if I remember correctly, that was stopped as late as 1967, Dash it, I could have been living somewhere warm and sunny now!!!
Having lived out of Ireland for 31 consecutive years, On my return in '96 I took zero interest in local politics or policies that didn't have a direct bearing on my lifestyle, and that still applies. We don't have a television, and Irish radio broadcasts jar as they are riddled with adverts and jingles. One exception is Lyric FM, which is our equivalent to BBC Radio 3.
We both remain devotees of BBC Radio 4, which in Ireland isn't available on FM, only long wave and Internet. The internet saves us from the pollution of long wave by days-long cricket. (I nevertheless applaud the recent fine Ashes victory.) I take the Irish Times, though, which tends not to devote much space to stories like the title heading here.
Regarding Irish political decisions, we all look forward to a regime change this year.....Perhaps a benign dictatorship with Ryanair boss Ml. O'Leary at the helm would be no bad thing. I expect he'd also have something to say about abortion, contraception & divorce, too. Maybe he'd re-introduce the guillotine for selective use on bankers, property speculators and former cabinet ministers.......
In the 80's the business for these places shriveled up, as washing machines meant the institutions that previously used these places could now do everything "in house" with a skeleton crew. So some of these places shut down. When unmarked mass graves were discovered beneath a place that had been sold....that's how things came to light....and they were not specifically outlawed until 1996. Due to other scandals, this Catholic sore spot has largely fallen into obscurity.
There's a period movie about it if you're interested, "The Magdalene Sisters" That's how I found out about this. Or check this out... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdalene_Asylum
It is testimony to the sea change in public attitude here in Ireland that a/ such a film could be made here, and b/ that it should have gotten out on general release.
The story is just the tip of the iceberg of controlled secrecy, exploitation, depravation and cruelty practiced widely in religious institutions here until embarassingly recently.
May God rest their souls.