Bad Bridget - women and crime, past and present

PRONI was delighted to host this event organised by the Bad Bridget project lead by Leanne McCormick (Ulster University) and Elaine Farrell (Queen’s University Belfast). The workshop was held on Friday 25 January 2019.

Bad Bridget image


The Bad Bridget project examines Irish women in North America who were involved in crime or considered deviant between 1838 and 1918. 

This workshop brings together historians of women and migration, including those from the Bad Bridget Project, as well as national and international experts working in the US criminal justice system, with Irish immigrants in the US, and with women in prison in Northern Ireland, to discuss links between the historical and contemporary issues facing migrants and women accused of criminal activity. 

"Bad Bridget past and present: women, crime and migration" is an exciting workshop that will offer much to those interested in historical as well as contemporary perspectives on issues about criminality, immigration and emigration, poverty, gender and discrimination.

Conference Programme

  • Stephen Scarth (PRONI); Elaine Farrell and Leanne McCormick, Bad Bridget Project
  • Chair: Leanne Calvert (University of Hertfordshire)  
  • Elaine Farrell (Queen’s University Belfast) and Leanne McCormick (Ulster University) 

    ‘The Bad Bridget Project’


  • Chair: Paddy Fitzgerald (Mellon Centre for Migration Studies)
  • Megan Parker-Johnston (Senior Attorney Irish International Immigrant Centre, Boston)

    ‘Bridget Was Framed: When Immigration Law Invokes Criminality and Other “Undesirable” Traits to leave out the Unwanted’ 


  • Chair: Frank Ferguson (Ulster University)
  • Jean O’Neill (Probation Service Northern Ireland)

    INSPIRE Women’s Project, Northern Ireland


  • Chair: Diane Urquhart (University of Liverpool)
  • Catherine Griffin (Public Defender, Legal Aid Society, New York)

    ‘Bad Bridget is off the hook: the mass incarceration of minorities in NYC’


  • Chair: Mary O’Dowd (Queen’s University, Belfast)
  • Jennifer Redmond (Maynooth University)

    ‘Shepherding the wayward emigrant girl: preventative philanthropy in Irish migration history’
  • Ciara Breathnach (University of Limerick)

Closing remarks

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