When Maureen Sullivan was just twelve years old, she confided in her teacher that she was being physically and sexually abused by her stepfather. Never, in her darkest imaginings, could she have dreamt that she would be the one who would face a harrowing punishment.
Within twenty-four hours, Maureen was taken from her home and her beloved grandmother, and sent to the Magdalene Laundry in New Ross, Co. Wexford, run by the Order of the Good Shepherd nuns. She was told that she would receive an education there, but instead she was immediately stripped of her meagre possessions and thrown into forced labour, washing clothes and scrubbing floors in inhumane and unrelenting conditions. Not allowed to speak, barely fed, and often going without water, the child was viciously beaten by the nuns for years and hidden away in an underground tunnel when government inspectors came. No one must see how cruelly the nuns were treating her.
In the heart-breaking Girl in the Tunnel, Maureen bravely recounts her agonising journey from a monstrously violent home to the cold and brutal Magdalene laundry system, and her desperate, gruelling fight for freedom and for justice.