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Redress must be extended to Bethany Home survivors – McDonald

21 February, 2013 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has today called on the Taoiseach to extend the Redress Fund to the few remaining survivors of Bethany Home. Deputy McDonald also described media reports that the government may seek to withhold redress from some Magdalene survivors as deeply worrying.

Deputy McDonald said:

“It is absolutely nonsensical for the government to exclude Bethany Home from any new redress scheme. Survivors are small in number and both government parties spoke of the need for redress for these men and women when in opposition.

“Bethany Home was a mother and baby home, a children’s home and place of detention for Protestant women referred by the courts. State inspections of Bethany under the Registration of Maternity Homes Act record the horrendous neglect of children in the home.

“This government cannot credibly discuss children’s rights today if it refuses to even acknowledge the State’s failure to protect children in the past.

“Reports in the media today that the government may seek to withhold redress from Magdalene survivors who received monies from the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme for abuse suffered in industrial schools is deeply worrying.

“Any mealy-mouthed attempt by government to limit the State’s liability to the surviving women will undermine the sentiment expressed by An Taoiseach in his apology earlier this week.

“Sinn Féin has raised a number of issues with regards to the terms of reference of Mr Justice Quirke’s review in preparation for the women’s redress mechanism.

“The ex gratia scheme as committed to by government is essentially a payment to the women without admitting liability. This is completely at odds with the Taoiseach’s apology on behalf of the State.

“The Taoiseach failed to confirm in the Dáil yesterday if the redress scheme will be put on a statutory footing or if there will be an independent appeals process. Enda Kenny also refused to confirm if the redress scheme will be extended to surviving women resident in the US or elsewhere in the world.

“If we are to avoid any further unnecessary distress for the surviving women the Taoiseach must clarify these matters raised with him.” ENDS

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