MINSTER OF STATE Kathleen Lynch said that the Bethany Home should be included in a redress scheme when in opposition in 2010 and criticised the government of the day for the “outrage” of denying the survivors “justice and redress”.
Lynch, in her role as Minister for Disability, Older People, Equality and Mental Health, was yesterday quoted in a government statement confirming that survivors of the Protestant-run Bethany Home would not be getting a redress scheme.
Lynch said yesterday that the decision to not set up a scheme of redress was “an appropriate one” following meetings with survivors and consultation with government.
But on 7 October 2010, she raised the issue in the Dáil and later said in a statement that survivors of the Bethany Home and the Magdalene Laundries must be included in a redress scheme:
Click here if you are having trouble viewing this image
“The continued refusal of the Government to include former residents of the Bethany Homes and the Magdalene Laundries under the provisions of the Residential Institutional Redress Scheme is a running sore,” Lynch said at the time.
She said the refusal of the then Fianna Fáil-led government had meant survivors had been denied “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”.
“The government must do the decent thing and end this outrage,” Lynch said.
Her comments then have been highlighted by several people on Twitter today including Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald who has been tweeting quotes from a Lynch question to then Tánaiste and Minister for Education Mary Coughlan on 7 October 2010:
In her statement yesterday, Lynch said: “Unlike previous governments, this Government has been willing to tackle head-on the historical issues raised by vulnerable groups, including the Magdalene women.
“I would like to thank the Bethany Survivors Group for meeting with Minister Shatter and I, and I am sorry that the outcome was not what they would have wished.
“Government has listened carefully to the Bethany Survivors Group and has considered this matter fully. We believe that the decision taken today is the appropriate one.”
Bethany Home survivor Derek Leinster said after the decision – which he received no prior notification of – that he was “devastated” and “bewildered” by the government’s decision to deny survivors redress scheme.
A spokesperson for Lynch did not return a request for comment today.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said earlier that it was not “practicable or possible to make payments” to survivors of the home. He said that in some cases women were in the home for only one or two weeks.
Government: No redress scheme for survivors of Bethany Home