Why apologise today for 'historic' abuse? | Maeve O'Rourke | TEDxUCD

11/12/2015 11:03:19

Maeve O’Rourke, a UCD graduate, is a human rights lawyer and a barrister. In 2013 she was named UK Family Law Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year for her legal work on the Justice for Magdalenes campaign.

In 2014 she was awarded the inaugural UCD Alumni Award in Law in recognition of her outstanding humanitarian work securing justice for the victims of the Magdalene Laundries.

In her TEDxUCD 2015 talk, Maeve argues that it is in the interests of our society to apologise to the women of the Magdalene Laundries, who are survivors of gross human rights violations and to ensure reparation in its fullest sense.

She explains that instead of being agnostic, we should properly understand why we cannot afford to sweep Ireland’s legacy of massive women’s rights violations under the carpet and fail to fully acknowledge the truth of what happened and where responsibility for it lay.


Maeve O’Rourke is a human rights lawyer and a barrister in London, where her practice to date has been in family law and international groupcomplex tort litigation. She has previously worked for the international women’s human rights organisation Equality Now, the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate pro bono and Just for Kids Law.

In 2013 she was named UK Family Law Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year for her legal work on the Justice for Magdalenes campaign. In 2014 she was awarded the inaugural UCD Alumni Award in Law in recognition of her outstanding humanitarian work securing justice for the victims of the Magdalene Laundries.

She is a graduate of the UCD Sutherland School of Law and Harvard Law School. She is currently researching for a PhD at Birmingham Law School on the human rights of older persons to freedom from torture and ill-treatment.

Twitter: @maeveorourke

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Euge Murtagh

Institutions always protect themselves, even institutions which are meant to serve the people

06/01/2016
Jim ORourke

On behalf of those who had no voice- thank you.

02/01/2016
Beth Wallace

Thank you. My mother gave birth to me, my sister, and our brother, in a mother and baby home. He died, and remains in an unmarked grave. We are all only in our 40s, this is not ''ancient history'', this is the living truth of many 1000s of Irish people NOW. Thank you for telling a piece of our story.

13/12/2015
Therese McInerney

Excellent speaker, well done.

13/12/2015
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