Guide Kathys Story: Who Could Ever Forget Her

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The judge ruled in her favour. It was then the other siblings began to claim Kathy's story was a lie. Among the documents seen by the Guardian are police statements she made about her childhood rapes by an older boy and legal documents relating to a recent out-of-court settlement the man made with her. The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, one of the orders that ran Magdalene laundries, has issued a statement saying that no records exist of a Kathy O'Beirne in any such institution.

However, Kathy played the Guardian a taped conversation that she believes supports her claim that she was there.

She also pointed to well-publicised cases in which religious orders have been exposed as having destroyed or failed to keep proper records. The O'Beirne siblings' appeal against the court ruling will be heard in the next few months in Ireland's high court. Kathy says she hopes the case will allow a further examination of the truth, which she insists will vindicate her.

Get a bit of happiness. It seemed like a ray of light in the darkness of my existence, an opportunity for a cleansing, even temporarily, of the dirt that I felt I had become. At least I could dress up like all the others, in the lovely clothes that my mother had scrimped and saved to buy me. The evening before my First Communion one of the boys who had been sexually abusing me went further than he had ever done before. This time he held me down and seemed to be trying to push himself inside of me.

Now I know that the word for what he did is rape but back then I didn't have any way to describe or understand what he had done.

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I just knew it was wrong and that the pain was worse than anything my father had done to me. The next morning, all dressed up in my lovely white dress and veil, I remember everyone saying how pretty and nice I looked. But I did not feel pretty and nice; I felt dirty and soiled. My dress was white but my body underneath was coal black. It hurt just to put one foot in front of the other but I couldn't let on why I was shuffling about.


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And I thought God knew. God had to know because he knew everything. Kathy O Beirne s Don t Ever Tell has sold more than , copies but her claims that she was raped and tortured in Ireland s Magdalene Laundries for fallen women have been dismissed as fabrications by the religious orders that ran them, by a woman who claims that they knew each other while living at a hostel, and by seven of her brothers and sisters. O Beirne told The Times that she had documentary evidence proving her story but when asked to present it she refused.

I have ten abusers in all. There s files on all of them, she said. A spokeswoman for Mainstream, which published Don t Ever Tell, said that although no contract had been signed for the second book we would love to do it. O Beirne s family said this week that their sister was a troubled person who had been exploited by her publisher. They produced a copy of her birth certificate to show that she had not, as the book claims, been adopted. One of the orders that ran the Magdalene Laundries is considering taking legal action. Erica Wagner, literary editor of The Times, said: This will be by no means the last confession memoir we see whether this is true or false has no bearing on the matter.

The plain truth is that confession memoirs shoot to the top of bestseller lists, and publishers will follow the money. Publisher Expresses Confidence Despite Controvers The authenticity of a memoir about a childhood of sexual abuse and survival at an infamous Magdalen laundry has been challenged in the English and Irish media.

This memoir was originally published by Mainstream Publishing in the United Kingdom and has been released this year as Don't Ever Tell. As a result of a family dispute, controversial remarks are currently being published in the English and Irish media questioning the book's authenticity. Greystone Publisher Rob Sanders states, We have confidence in the work done by Mainstream to ensure the appropriateness of the book for publication. Girls considered promiscuous or at risk were incarcerated in these notorious workhouses, which operated in Ireland throughout the twentieth century.

Kathy O'Beirne was one of these girls. As Kathy O'Beirne recounts her horrific story in unflinching detail, the strength of her character shines through. The book was published by Edinburgh's Mainstream Publishing, which defended its contents yesterday. Five years ago another book published by the company, Jihad!

In her book, O'Beirne, now 49, claimed she was tortured and raped in a Magdalene laundry where she worked for 14 years, giving birth to a child. The institutions were set up to rehabilitate "fallen women". She also claimed in the book, published 18 months ago, that she was beaten and abused from the age of seven at the hands of her father.

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Seven of O'Beirne's brothers and sisters, all originally from Clondalkin, Dublin, came together at a Dublin press conference to tell what they said was the family's real story. We can't go on living like this, we can't eat, we can't sleep. We want to get on with our lives and remember our mother and father.

They were good to us. They displayed Kathy O'Beirn's birth certificate, saying she was not adopted as she claimed. Instead, she had been in children's homes, a psychiatric hospital and a prison. The family claimed Kathy was living at home with them when she says she was in a Magdalene home during the years to from the age of 12 to In the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity insisted O'Beirne did not work in any of their laundries and wrote to Ireland's Department of Justice requesting an investigation. The letter stated that the only time O'Beirne spent with the order was six weeks spent in a reformatory school.

Mainstream responded to requests for interviews by issuing a statement.

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It included working closely with O'Beirne and asking the Archdiocese of Dublin to submit any proposed changes. Kathy O'Beirne: Natalie Clarke. Daily Mail Saturday September 23rd. The rape took place one Sunday within what was supposed to be the sanctity of a convent. Kathy O'Beirne's attacker was a visitor who had befriended her.

He took her for a walk through the grounds and, when the nuns could no longer see them, he led her into a shed, put his hand over her mouth and forced himself on her. Nine months later, aged 14, Kathy gave birth to a daughter whom she called Annie. Despite the harrowing circumstances in which she had been conceived, Kathy was a besotted mother — but the nuns took the baby away when she was three months old, leaving Kathy bereft.

This and many other deeply disturbing experiences are recounted in Kathy's book, Don't Ever Tell, which caused a sensation when it was published and has been on the bestseller list for many months. To date, , copies have been sold in Britain and Ireland.

My Kathy Ireland Interview

Ms O'Beirne has become a heroine for other survivors of childhood abuse and suffering. It has been said that Oprah Winfrey is eager to interview her. At least one film company is trying to secure the rights to the book. There will be no shortage of fire and brimstone in the film. But perhaps he did not need to. For there is mounting evidence pointing to the likelihood that Ms O'Beirne has done it for him. This week, her two sisters and three of her six brothers came forward to describe the book as a 'hoax publication' that was destroying their lives.

They said they have no recollection whatsoever of her harrowing claims.

Kathy's Story: Who Could Ever Forget Her

What has caused the siblings the most anguish are Ms O'Beirne's assertions that she was mercilessly beaten by a cruel and sadistic father who seemed to take pleasure out of inflicting extreme pain on her. They are demanding that the book be removed from the shelves. So what is the truth? Is Ms O'Beirne really a victim, or is she a calculating liar who has managed to pull off a cynical scam on a gullible publisher eager to capitalise on the highly popular 'misery memoir' genre?

There is, it seems, no end to the public's appetite for tales of abject woe and horror. So could it be that the book is actually a work of fiction? Ms O'Beirne certainly talks a convincing game. What is true is that she clearly had an extremely troubled childhood.

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At one point she was placed in a home for problem children. There were spells in a psychiatric hospital and in prison. But her family insist all these problems were brought on by Kathy herself. According to her sister Mary, she is, and always has been, a compulsive liar. As a child, she was a 'tearaway' who was constantly getting into trouble and was expelled from school. At a press conference this week, the family dismissed another of Kathy's claims — that she was adopted — by producing her birth certificate.

Kathy's account of the abuse levelled at her by her father at the family home in a working-class suburb of Dublin is profoundly shocking. She writes: 'To the outside world, my father Oliver presented an image of respectability. He was a handsome man, well-built at 15 stone, who dressed immaculately. A builder's labourer, he went to Mass every day and, to the people on our estate, he appeared to be a highly religious pillar of the community.

But inside our home he became a cruel and violent man who subjected his family to a terrible life of mental and physical abuse. He regularly beat my eight brothers and sisters and me with his belt. The buckle would cut into my legs and the flesh wounds often turned septic. The pain was unbearable.


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I closed my eyes and screamed, so he threw me outside the back door while he ate his dinner. She says their father was strict but kind, and that he worked long hours to ensure his wife and nine children were fed and clothed. Never,' she says. It was a normal, happy childhood. We would go for days out in the mountains and had such fun up there.