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Ann Lovett case - 30 years

  • 01-02-2014 12:45am
    #1
    Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 12,356 Mod ✭✭✭✭JupiterKid


    Many if not most here on boards weren't alive in early 1984 when 15 year old Ann Lovett died giving birth at a grotto of the Virgin Mary in Granard, County Longford.

    Ireland was a very different country in 1984 and it is deeply shameful that this young girl felt forced to hide her pregnancy because of the social stigma at the time. Remember, girls were being thrown into Magdalen laundries for the so called "sin" of getting pregnant out of wedlock at that time.

    Ann Lovett's death was not completely in vain as it made Ireland hold a mirror to itself and question its so-called "morality." As a country and society, Ireland has come a long way but there IMO is still a way to go yet.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 22,646 ✭✭✭✭Sauve


    I grew up very close to where that happened. My mam, and people from the area still talk about it now. So sad, and needless.
    Stigma and fear are terrible things, but I do think we've come quite a way in the past 30 years. Well, I hope we have.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 361 ✭✭Filibuster


    The Reform Alliance is here now to restore order. All is fine.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 70 ✭✭user2012


    There's plenty on boards who were alive in 1984!
    Very, very sad story but not an isolated case. I dread to think what she went through physically & emotionally throughout the pregnancy & birth.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,370 ✭✭✭Phoebas




  • Registered Users Posts: 8,061 ✭✭✭Uriel.


    We've come a very long way in fairness. More to go for sure. But we're getting there.

    Still reckon we'll have an unhealthy affixiation with alcohol in a century though.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,174 ✭✭✭✭gammygils


    When the whole scenario is examined. Who was to blame?

    The Catholic Church and it's teachings! Another 2 lives to add to it's collection.

    I was her age when that happened! We all felt so sorry for her at the time.

    Her name will stay in my memory forever. 30 years later and I can still remember it.

    Yes we have come a long way since. Why? Because there's less fear of The Catholic Church. And less judgemental oul priests & nuns!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,059 ✭✭✭WilyCoyote


    The Church was the main culprit. But the people who blindly followed were also culpable. The micky dodgers and social misfits that ran the convents and fucked up the heads of young girls, the priests that were more interested in the "power" that they had, the judiciary for not confronting the situation and the politicians who led the country like donkeys leading lions.


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 12,356 Mod ✭✭✭✭JupiterKid


    Does anyone think that such a sad incident like the Ann Lovett case could happen again? Yes, the Church have lost a lot of their power but there are still places here in Ireland that are like "the valley of the squinting windows."


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,512 ✭✭✭Muise...


    Her family could have helped her too. The Church was powerful and controlled the education and social services, but even back then people stood up to it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 623 ✭✭✭Fiolina


    There's a progamme on RTE radio 1 about Anne Lovett starting in a minute if anyone interested


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,790 ✭✭✭maguic24


    Sauve wrote: »
    I grew up very close to where that happened. My mam, and people from the area still talk about it now. So sad, and needless.
    Stigma and fear are terrible things, but I do think we've come quite a way in the past 30 years. Well, I hope we have.

    Yeah my stepdad went to school with her. He always tells me the story when we're in Granard. Very very sad. :(


  • Registered Users Posts: 588 ✭✭✭cometogether


    Remember folks, THAT is the sort of Ireland that Youth Defence et al long for.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21 Bluefang


    I remember that sad sad case so well - and so do the hypocrites from Granard at the time anytime it is even slightly alluded to. Shame on the lot of them. May they die screaming on their deathbeds.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,961 ✭✭✭conorhal


    I think there needs to be a balanced middle ground to be honest, I can't say that entire comunities almost devoid of fathers constitutes any kind of progress either, it's just a different kind of failure, one of benign neglect rather then active abuse. Neither one extreme or the other is particularly healthy for a society.
    The OP is indicative if another wierd cultural trait, obsessing about crimes commited a generation ago. We seem to love an opportunity to self flagallate as if the stigmatization of single mothers was somehow unique to Catholic Ireland, but at the same time we're habitually silent about what's going on under our nose today, that will no doubt need to wait another 40ys before somebody demands and enquiery.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21 Bluefang


    You Conolhal - are in a holocaust denial mode. There WAS no middle ground. The Catholic church held absolute authority and knew it, and were very self righteous to possess it. The so-called state were in complete compliance and fear of the Catholic Hierarchy.

    Again I say - may they die screaming on their deathbeds. I very much doubt that you were around at that time Sir.

    Ann and little child, Rest in Peace, you gentle girl.


  • Posts: 26,052 ✭✭✭✭[Deleted User]


    Muise... wrote: »
    Her family could have helped her too. The Church was powerful and controlled the education and social services, but even back then people stood up to it.

    I think there might be a tendency to absolve general society of responsibility by overstating the churches influence.

    I think the majority of the blame is with the culture of deference and complicity fostered by the CC, but pointing the finger and saying 'they did it' also handily takes the spotlight off the neighbours, doctors, teachers, parents, friends and siblings who chose to say and do nothing and left that girl to endure her torment, and to die alone.

    People still knew right from wrong, even back then. They could have acted, but they didn't.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,114 ✭✭✭ivytwine


    There was a v good Irish Times article at the time of the anniversary: http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/r%C3%B3is%C3%ADn-ingle-on-somebody-somewhere-1.1673875

    There has to be someone who has kept Ann's secret all those years, and that's terrifying.

    I wasn't born when thiscase happened, but I heard about it largely from the media. A friend of mine on FB who's a bit of a ****stirrer posted into into a 'pro-life' group on her anniversary. None of these people, quite a lot of whom appeared to be middle-aged, had even heard of Ann Lovett.

    I don't think we should ever forget Ann and her baby. Because it's an Ireland we never should return to.

    Conor, where are you getting fatherless communities from? Yes more kids are born out of wedlock, but mostly because people are getting married after/living together. Single mothers haven't overrun the country. I am the daughter of one, and I was born just FIVE years after Ann Lovett died. I've posted elsewhere on boards about my experiences growing up, about how I was one of only two in single parent families in my entire primary school. Things have changed now, obviously, but it's not all that common by any means.

    I think we should acknowledge our past. No our treatment of single mothers or young pregnant girls was not unique. However, it went on here a lot longer than many other places. I don't think we should ever forget, especially when we have certain groups (I shan't get boards.ie in trouble for defamation *rollseyes*) actively pushing for a return to that past.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,628 ✭✭✭Femme_Fatale


    I don't agree we as a society held a huge amount of responsibility either - I'm not sure what individuals could have done to stop the tragedy; who outside of family and close friends could have known Ann was pregnant? But I still think it's lazy to just blame it all on the church. I'd deem the church's influence to have been a major factor, but not the only one. And certainly not just random individuals within the church/churchgoers.
    Bluefang wrote: »
    You Conolhal - are in a holocaust denial mode.
    No he's not - that's a crazy accusation.
    There WAS no middle ground. The Catholic church held absolute authority and knew it, and were very self righteous to possess it. The so-called state were in complete compliance and fear of the Catholic Hierarchy.

    Again I say - may they die screaming on their deathbeds.
    Who?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,114 ✭✭✭ivytwine


    I don't agree we as a society held a huge amount of responsibility either - I'm not sure what individuals could have done to stop the tragedy; who outside of family and close friends could have known Ann was pregnant? But I still think it's lazy to just blame it all on the church. I'd deem the church's influence to have been a major factor, but not the only one. And certainly not just random individuals within the church/churchgoers.

    Not on a practical level no. I'm sure Ann's schoolmates had no idea, nor did any teacher.

    However.... the conditions created by that society, one of fear, judgement and harshness, those were the things that prevented Ann Lovett and other girls like her from confiding in people and led to them keeping their secrets.

    Maybe not on an individual level, but for every girl who 'disappeared' in decades past and turned up in a laundry, there was no-one who spoke out. For every girl or boy raped or abused, no-one spoke out. No-one spoke out when someone 'got into trouble' they whispered it and thanked God it wasn't their child. It's not all the church, the society as a whole was complicit in maintaining this atmosphere of fear.

    I am not sure of the exact date, but up until the 40s I think infanticide was treated in Ireland as a separate crime to murder. Because it was so common. This is something I read in Diarmaid Ferriter's Occasions of Sin book, a real eye-opener to times past.

    Who is to blame for Ann Lovett and her baby's death in your opinion Femme Fatale? I'm not having a go, but if it wasn't the church, or society as a whole, who was it that made a young girl think she had no option other than give birth in a lonely and cold place and lose her life for it?

    I don't know Granard or the midlands at all, but I know rural Ireland. And I tend to believe the above poster when they say someone in Granard knows something they have never told anyone. She didn't get pregnant by herself.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,628 ✭✭✭Femme_Fatale


    But the silence was because of the church's influence.

    I'm not comfortable with "Nobody spoke out". How do we know how much of an influence we'd have had if we were there at the time? People did try to speak out but they didn't have a loud enough voice.
    I don't like the obsession with blame.

    I think Ann did not confide in others due to fear of the consequences (which in fairness is still the way it is for very young girls who are pregnant, but back then there were far more) and lack of proper sex education.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 960 ✭✭✭cletus van damme


    ivytwine wrote: »
    Who is to blame for Ann Lovett and her baby's death in your opinion Femme Fatale? I'm not having a go, but if it wasn't the church, or society as a whole, who was it that made a young girl think she had no option other than give birth in a lonely and cold place and lose her life for it?

    people are right in saying blaming the catholic church is a cop out.

    The power of the church is over stated , it wasn't illegal to stand up to the church only inconvenient.

    Some people dealt with this type of thing in an irish but somewhat decent manner , in my mother's neighbourhood there was a few stories of the mother adopting her grandchild as her own if such a pregnacy happened.

    But others didn't do that. It beggars belief that a father would throw his daughter out on the side of the of the road cos she was pregnant. In essence he cared more about his shame in front of his neighbours than his own child (and grand child).
    That's all it was - "good name" utter ****e.
    That is scummy , catholic teaching or not.
    The parents of ireland that made that decision did that of their own will -
    they are soley to blame.

    The church did plenty wrong but we can't just foist all evils onto it and absolve ireland and it's people.

    We don't know the interaction Ann Lovett had with anybody so we don't know who knew - if nobody did then maybe nobody is to blame in this case.
    But plenty are to blame for the abuse of others.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,114 ✭✭✭ivytwine


    But the silence was because of the church's influence.

    I'm not comfortable with "Nobody spoke out". How do we know how much of an influence we'd have had if we were there at the time? People did try to speak out but they didn't have a loud enough voice.
    I don't like the obsession with blame.

    I think Ann did not confide in others due to fear of the consequences (which in fairness is still the way it is for very young girls who are pregnant, but back then there were far more) and lack of proper sex education.

    It's the truth though. Nobody did speak out, and I'm not judging anyone for not doing so. You would have had to be an EXTREMELY strong person to have gone against the tide at that time. My father was one of those- he walked out of mass in the 1960s. But he had nothing to lose- he was a young single man, from a good family, good job- there were not any consequences for him.

    People keep the head down and of course they do, you must do what you can to survive. Most of us living now would keep our heads down.

    My friends and I were talking about this over Christmas, about did people know what was happening back then. And of course they did. Our grandparents all knew what was happening. We had personal anecdotes- all of us, from different parts of Ireland- that said as much.

    You can blame a society for what has happened, without judging them. It is like any great evil, it is enabled by the people who turn the other way. That's a fact. You don't have to look down on and judge the people who turn the other way; they are always the majority.

    I still think it's a societal conditioning behind Ann's decision not to tell. There is still poor sex edu in schools, young girls are still terrified of getting pregnant, but no-one dies like Ann Lovett did.

    The past is of course the past, but I don't think it should necessarily be forgotten, especially in the current milieu where these groups are aching to get a foothold again.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,114 ✭✭✭ivytwine


    people are right in saying blaming the catholic church is a cop out.

    The power of the church is over stated , it wasn't illegal to stand up to the church only inconvenient.

    Some people dealt with this type of thing in an irish but somewhat decent manner , in my mother's neighbour there was a few stories of the mother adopting her grandchild as her own if such a pregnacy happened.

    But others didn't do that. It beggars belief that a father would throw his daughter out on the side of the of the road cos she was pregnant. In essence he cared more about his shame in front of his neighbours than his own child (and grand child).
    That's all it was - "good name" utter ****e.
    That is scummy , catholic teaching or not.
    The parents of ireland that made that decision did that of their own will -
    they are soley to blame.

    The church did plenty wrong but we can't just foist all evils onto it and absolve ireland and it's people.

    We don't know the interaction Ann Lovett had with anybody so we don't know who knew - if nobody did then maybe nobody is to blame in this case.
    But plenty are to blame for the abuse of others.

    Well said Cletus van Damme, someone close to me was raised by her grandmother and thought her mother was her sister. This was very very common.

    Yes the Church made the rules and its influence was great, but it wasn't the only thing. Look at the amount of men in the civil war who disobeyed the church and stayed in the IRA on pain of excommunication.

    Reputation is still everything in rural Ireland, which is why I moved to Dublin :P

    What I always think of with Ann Lovett, and what is put so well in that IT article, is the man who got her pregnant. He must have known and yet he stayed silent.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,628 ✭✭✭Femme_Fatale


    ivytwine wrote: »
    It's the truth though. Nobody did speak out, and I'm not judging anyone for not doing so. You would have had to be an EXTREMELY strong person to have gone against the tide at that time. My father was one of those- he walked out of mass in the 1960s. But he had nothing to lose- he was a young single man, from a good family, good job- there were not any consequences for him.

    People keep the head down and of course they do, you must do what you can to survive. Most of us living now would keep our heads down.

    My friends and I were talking about this over Christmas, about did people know what was happening back then. And of course they did. Our grandparents all knew what was happening. We had personal anecdotes- all of us, from different parts of Ireland- that said as much.

    You can blame a society for what has happened, without judging them. It is like any great evil, it is enabled by the people who turn the other way. That's a fact. You don't have to look down on and judge the people who turn the other way; they are always the majority.

    I still think it's a societal conditioning behind Ann's decision not to tell. There is still poor sex edu in schools, young girls are still terrified of getting pregnant, but no-one dies like Ann Lovett did.

    The past is of course the past, but I don't think it should necessarily be forgotten, especially in the current milieu where these groups are aching to get a foothold again.
    I fully agree with the above. My objection is to when people view the people of the time with contempt for not somehow "overthrowing" the catholic church, despite the fact that ordinary people then were the same as ordinary people now, and they would likely have been no different had they been there at the time.
    Although if the fear of the church was at the root of it all, then I wouldn't be inclined to hold people entirely responsible for not standing up. But I've no doubt individuals did stand up, but it wasn't enough. I also don't believe absolutely everyone knew absolutely everything that was going on.
    My dad didn't know what was going on in the industrial schools - although in fairness he was only a kid too.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,114 ✭✭✭ivytwine


    I fully agree with the above. My objection is to when people view the people of the time with contempt for not somehow "overthrowing" the catholic church, despite the fact that ordinary people then were the same as ordinary people now, and they would likely have been no different had they been there at the time.
    Although if the fear of the church was at the root of it all, then I wouldn't be inclined to hold people entirely responsible for not standing up. But I've no doubt individuals did stand up, but it wasn't enough. I also don't believe absolutely everyone knew absolutely everything that was going on.
    My dad didn't know what was going on in the industrial schools - although in fairness he was only a kid too.

    Naturally individuals did stand up, but this often wasn't enough or the pace was glacial. David Norris, the women who founded CHERISH, even Micheal McLiammoir and Hilton Edwards in their quiet way- they all stood up. But it wasn't enough.

    That night (great banter to be had pre-drinking-lol!) we referred to another girl we knew who did a project on the Magdalenes in Cork and was adamant that no-one knew, not even her granny who lived BESIDE the laundry and used to look out at the girls. Now of course, not everyone knew, or if they did they had no idea of the extent of it, but to say no-one knew is misleading.

    Kids would have had no idea. All our stories came from our grandparents. And there is that tendency among children to accept what they see as normal.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,465 ✭✭✭Sir Humphrey Appleby


    Bluefang wrote: »
    You Conolhal - are in a holocaust denial mode. There WAS no middle ground. The Catholic church held absolute authority and knew it, and were very self righteous to possess it. The so-called state were in complete compliance and fear of the Catholic Hierarchy.

    Not true.
    We are talking about 1984 not 1844!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,628 ✭✭✭Femme_Fatale


    WilyCoyote wrote: »
    The Church was the main culprit. But the people who blindly followed were also culpable. The micky dodgers and social misfits that ran the convents and fucked up the heads of young girls, the priests that were more interested in the "power" that they had, the judiciary for not confronting the situation and the politicians who led the country like donkeys leading lions.
    But they were the church.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,114 ✭✭✭ivytwine


    Actually, the only person I know from Longford said her family were outcasts in the village for not going to mass- in 2012.

    So maybe the church is more influential in certain parts of Ireland than we think!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,512 ✭✭✭Muise...


    The cleverest trick the church played was to get its congregation to police each other with an atmosphere of fear and shame. Nell McCafferty wrote about Ann Lovett at the time, pointing out that almost everyone knew she was pregnant, but did not intervene because it was deemed a matter for the family. It's possible some of them assumed that the family would bring up the child, or that Ann would go away for a little while under some flimsy premise that would be gossiped about but never addressed. Unfortunately, the family were of the sort who wouldn't help her. Not to mention the more immediate family of whoever it was that fathered the baby.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,262 ✭✭✭✭mariaalice


    The influence of the church has been over stated or perhaps it was more a mix of social, cultural and religious influences, the church wasn't imposing its views on an unwilling population, there was large support for the church.

    The Kerry babies case is another one case from the same era it almost beyond belief as well.


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