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Bethany Survivors Group Ireland via Fa

Cabinet 'to make decision on Bethany Home next week'

The survivors who lived in the home have been calling for a number of years for redress and an apology for their time there.

A DECISION ON redress and an apology for the former residents of the Bethany Home is expected to be made next week.

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald said that a commitment has been made by the Taoiseach that cabinet will make its decision on the Protestant Bethany Home when it meets next week.

Former residents of the home, who spent time there when they were children, have been campaigning for redress and an apology from the Government for what occurred there.

Derek Leinster, chairperson of the Bethany Survivors Group, said that they are “now hoping [the Government is] going to do the right thing”.

However, he added: “Every time we hear something it’s a couple of steps up and another couple back.”

The survivors are now hopeful that they will see a positive resolution to their calls for redress. “It’s great news and very positive news and we can only hope that they are starting to do the right thing,” said Leinster. “For the few people that’s left, it’ll mean so much. It’ll mean so much for Ireland – it will be seen in a different light.”


McDonald said:

This small number of surviving men and women were ignored by the previous government, and were deliberately excluded from the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme on a false pretence.
Bethany Home was not simply a mother and baby Home. It was a children’s home, which shared all the brutal characteristics of the Industrial Schools and the Magdalene Laundries.

She added that Fine Gael and Labour in opposition have also acknowledged the “horrific neglect” of children in the home. Bethany survivors have previously met with the Justice Minister Alan Shatter on the issue, and also spoken to other Oireachtas members.

McDonald said:

Testimony provided to Oireachtas members earlier this year painted a brutal picture of the neglect suffered by survivors when they were children resident in Bethany Home. One man spoke of being hospitalised for bronchial pneumonia, diphtheria, pertussis and gastroenteritis, another of having continuous anaemia and of rickets of the head.

She added that State inspections of Bethany under the Registration of Maternity Homes Act record the “horrendous neglect” of children in the home.

“There can be no further delay by government in delivering justice for the Bethany Home survivors,” said McDonald.


Derek Leinster, chairperson of the Bethany Survivors Group, wrote in recent weeks to the Taoiseach abut the way he and his colleagues refer to the home, and calling for redress.

He asked the Taoiseach and Ministers not to refer to the home as a ‘mother and baby home’.

The survivors wish for a memorial to be built at Mount Jerome Cemetery, where the bodies of around 200 children from the home were found in unmarked graves.

Bethany Home survivor Paul Graham, who lives in Australia, wrote for about his experiences, including his journey to find out more about his identity.

Leinister and Patrick Anderson-McQuoid, a fellow survivor, also described the impact their time at the home had on their lives.

Read: Consideration on Bethany Home redress to be concluded ‘in weeks’>

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

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