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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019

Magdalene redress scheme may be widened, Taoiseach indicates

Former residents of the Summerhill Training Centre and the notorious Bethany Home could also be in line for redress, Enda Kenny indicated in the Dáil this morning.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking in the Dáil today
Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking in the Dáil today

THE REDRESS SCHEME being established for the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries could be widened to include women who were held in the Summerhill Training Centre in Wexford and the Bethany Home in Dublin.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil this morning that the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter was “looking at the question of the Bethany Home” (also known as Bethany House)

While he also said that the Summerhill Training Centre in Wexford “is an issue the government can consider in due course”.

The chairman of the Bethany Home Survivors Group, Derek Leinster, said his group had been told to expect a response from Shatter on the matter in two weeks time and said that the “horrific” conditions of the Protestant care home “tick all the boxes” for redress.

Leinster told RTÉ’s News at One that only between 16 and 20 survivors would qualify for some form of redress under a scheme being proposed for the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries where thousands of women were incarcerated between 1922 and 1996.

“The conditions would have been horrific,” Leinster, who was born in the Bethany Home, told RTÉ.

The Bethany Home was a Protestant-run institution that was based in Blackhall Place in north Dublin between 1921 and 1934 and later Orwell Road in Rathgar, south Dublin between 1934 and 1972.

It housed women convicted of petty crimes as well as women who became pregnant out of wedlock. In 2010, unmarked graves of children who died at the home were discovered at the Mount Jerome Cemetery at Harold’s Cross in Dublin.

Leinster said that his group had been told previously that the Protestant-run home “had nothing to do with the State”.

But he said that in a meeting with the Minister of State and Labour TD Joe Costello last night survivors were told they would hear an announcement from the Justice Minister in a fortnight.

Kenny told the Dáil this morning that survivors of the Magdalene Laundries wanted a “simple, effective, non-adversarial, non-litigious” process of redress.

More: Magdalenes invited to contact Department as redress process begins

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Hugh O'Connell

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