Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bethany Home

Survivors want Bethany Home in redress scheme
By Jennifer Hough

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

THE survivors of a Protestant home for unmarried mothers where more than 200 babies died have asked for the Government’s position on including it in the redress scheme.

Just last October, while in opposition, Junior Minister Kathleen Lynch said the Government must "do the decent thing and end this outrage".

The Bethany Survivors Group, headed by Derek Leinster, has fought for years to have the home recognised as a state-run institution, despite what it calls a "cover up" to exclude it from the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme.

According to Mr Leinster, the state is as culpable for scores of deaths and abuse that went on in the home as it is for similar Catholic Church-run institutions and this must be recognised.

The Bethany Home took in non-Catholic unmarried mothers, their children, along with prostitutes and women, including children, convicted of various crimes between 1922-72.

The campaign came to a head last year when it emerged that in the 1930s and 1940s, some 219 children died at the home and were buried in unmarked graves at Mount Jerome.

The campaign was backed by Labour’s Joe Costello and Kathleen Lynch, who is now the Junior Minister for Mental Health and Disability. Ms Lynch said the continued refusal of the Government to include former residents of the Bethany Homes and the Magdalene Laundries under the provisions of the redress scheme was a "running sore".

"Despite continual calls the Department of Education has refused again and again to allow these institutions to be included in the list of qualifying institutions. As a result, the survivors have been deprived of the opportunity of having their case heard and of obtaining some justice and redress for the abuse they suffered as young, innocent and vulnerable children."

Mr Leinster said he wanted to know if Labour was going to stick to its promise. "The Bethany Home is eminently qualified to be included in the redress schedule," he said.

"It is too late for the 219 Bethany children buried in unmarked graves, whose final resting spot in Mount Jerome Cemetery was discovered in 2010. It is not yet too late for those still living."

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