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McDonald welcomes Taoiseach’s commitment on Bethany Home

25 June, 2013 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD this evening welcomed the Taoiseach’s commitment that consideration of a redress scheme, access to personal records, a memorial and an apology for Bethany Home survivors will be concluded within the next two to three weeks.

The Dublin Central TD said:
“There is a wealth of evidence in the public domain documenting state involvement in Bethany Home. Survivors’ were excluded from the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme on the basis that it was a Mother and Baby Home, which was clearly not the case.
“Survivor testimony and records show that children spent long periods of time in the home and were often brought back after temporary foster care arrangements ended. Horrific abuse and neglect is also well documented.
“For over two years now the Justice Minister has been considering the growing call for an apology and redress for the very small number of men and women who survived Bethany Home.
“In opposition both Fine Gael and Labour criticised Fianna Fáil led Governments for excluding Bethany from the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme acknowledging the evidence of state involvement in the home.
“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.
“Two hundred and nineteen Bethany children who died in this small institution between 1922 and 1949 lay buried in unmarked graves in Mount Jerome Cemetery. Most died after the 1934 Registration of Maternity Homes Act was passed.

“I welcome the Taoiseach’s commitment in the Dáil this evening that the Minister for Justice will conclude his consideration of redress for survivors of Bethany Home.
“It is time now for the Government to acknowledge the failure of the State in its duty and in turn to provide these elderly men and women the redress and apology they have waited so long for.”

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