ACIS Logo REDRESS: Ireland’s Institutions and Transitional Justice

It is a brave, creative, radical and unflinching collection, rooted in the concept of transitional justice,” Lindsey Earner-Byrne, “REDRESS essay opens up the cathedral of Irish silence and shame,” Sunday Independent, 7 August 2022.

“Redress should be read by anyone who cares about the vulnerable, and those who can influence how they are treated today,” Tina Neylon, “The State is still failing victims of institutional neglect,” The Irish Examiner,  10 September 2022.

How will Ireland redress its legacy of institutional abuse and forced adoption? What constitutes justice? How might democracy evolve if the survivors’ experiences and expertise were allowed to lead the response to a century of gender and family separation-based abuses? These are the questions to which this collection of essays seeks answers. REDRESS: Ireland’s Institutions and Transitional Justice explores the ways in which Ireland – North and South – treats those who suffered in Magdalene Laundries, Mother and Baby Homes, County Homes, industrial and reformatory schools, and in a closed and secretive adoption system, over the last one hundred years.

The essays in this collection focus on the structures which perpetuated widespread and systematic abuses in the past and considers how political arrangements continue to exert power over survivors, adopted people and generations of relatives, as well as controlling the remains and memorialisation of the dead.

With diverse and interdisciplinary perspectives, the essays consider how a Transitional Justice-based, survivor-centred, approach might assist those personally affected, policymakers, the public, and academics to evaluate the complex ways in which both the Republic and Northern Ireland (and other states such as Canada, Australia, and Britain) have responded to their histories of institutionalisation and forced family separation. Importantly, the essays collected in REDRESS: Ireland’s Institutions and Transitional Justice seek to offer avenues by which to redress this legacy of continuing harms. The book forensically examines the two states’ so-called ‘redress’ schemes and investigations, and the statements of apology that accompanied them.

The scholarly essays address a range of topics including social vulnerability, shame, and epistemic injustice, ‘Disremembrance’ and Protestant institutions, ‘Illegitimate Knowledge’ and Adopted People, Belligerent Ignorance and the Magdalene Laundries, Heritage as a tool of Transitional Justice, and Truth-telling and the Archive.  The collection also gathers significant long-form journalism essays reprinted from international outlets such as the London Review of Books, The New York Times, and The New York Review of Books and by writers Anne Enright, Dan Barry, and Clair Wills.



The Editors are donating all royalties in the name of survivors and all those affected by Ireland’s carceral institutions and family separation to the charity Empowering People in Care (EPIC).


Published on: September 15, 2022