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Adams condemns government decision against survivors of Bethany Home

6 October, 2011 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has condemned as ‘heartless’ the decision by the Justice and Equality Minister Alan Shatter not to extend the brief of the inter-Departmental Committee on the Magdalene Laundries to include Bethany Home.

Senator Martin McAleese is currently chairing the Inter-departmental Committee on the Magdalene Laundries to establish the facts of the state’s involvement with the laundries. However Bethany Home has been excluded from this review.

Earlier this week I raised this matter with the Taoiseach in the Dáil and I wrote to the Minister four weeks ago asking for the victims of Bethany Home to be included in the remit of Senator McAleese’s committee.

However in a PQ response to a question from my colleague Mary Lou McDonald asking for the Committee’s remit to be extended, the Minister said that there are ‘no plans to extend its brief beyond those institutions’.

The Sinn Féin leader said:

“This decision disregards the mountain of evidence built up over many years which exposes the significant levels of abuse and violence and deprivation that went on for decades in Bethany Home and which the state authorities at that time ignored.

“Regrettably it is another u-turn from the government parties who in opposition had supported the victims demand to be included in the redress scheme. Now when they have the opportunity to right a huge wrong they choose to perpetuate that wrong by refusing justice to victims.

“The survivors of Bethany Home have the right to be treated in the same way as all other survivors of institutional abuse and Sinn Féin will continue to support their case.”

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