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Government: No redress scheme for survivors of Bethany Home

One survivor said he was “devastated” by the decision which was announced by government in a statement this evening.

Mount Jerome Cemetary
Mount Jerome Cemetary
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Updated 7.10pm

THE GOVERNMENT HAS confirmed that it will not be introducing a specific redress scheme for survivors of the Bethany Home.

In a statement this evening, the government said that it has decided not to introduce a redress scheme but said it is willing to look at the question of a memorial and making records related to the home available to survivors.

Bethany Home was a residential home in Dublin for ‘fallen women’ but was not included in the 2002 Residential Institutions Redress scheme as the women were said to be there voluntarily. It was also not part of the recent report into the Magadalene Laundries.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that he and Minister of State Kathleen Lynch met with survivors in April and had said at the time that the government did not wish to raise unrealistic expectations but would consult with colleagues on the matter.

“That consultation has now taken place and Government has decided that it is not appropriate that a scheme be put in place for Bethany Home,” Shatter said in a statement this evening.

“I understand this is disappointing for the group involved but the Government has taken its time and arrived carefully at this decision.”

Derek Leinster, a survivor of the home and chair of the Bethany Survivors Group, was not aware of the decision when contacted this evening but upon being told of it said he was “devastated” and “bewildered”.

“The fight isn’t over, you can be sure of that. Justice hasn’t been done, until it has been done we won’t stop and we’ll never give up,” he added, saying that the group would be prepared to go to court over the matter.

Prior to the announcement, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD said Taoiseach’s Enda Kenny failure to deliver on his commitment of a decision on Bethany Home following today’s cabinet meeting was “heartless”.

She said: “The Taoiseach wrote to Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD yesterday stating a decision on Bethany would be made at today’s cabinet meeting. No announcement has been made.”

She also said that the pain felt by survivors has been compounded by what occurred today.

- additional reporting Aoife Barry

First published 4.48pm

Column: I’m a Bethany Home survivor and, at 74 years old, I’m finally happy

Read: McGuinness calls for justice for Bethany Home survivors>

Read: Bethany Home survivors call for cross-border investigation into neglect>

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Hugh O'Connell

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