Bethany Home survivors must have justice – McDonald

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has welcomed today’s commitment by the Taoiseach that cabinet will make its decision on Bethany Home when it meets next week.

The Dublin Central TD 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 & Baby Home. It was a children’s home, which shared all the brutal characteristics of the Industrial Schools and the Magdalene Laundries.

“Fine Gael and Labour in opposition acknowledged the horrific neglect of children in the home.

“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.

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

“Some 219 Bethany children who died in this small institution between 1922 and 1949 lay buried in unmarked graves in Mount Jerome Cemetery.

“The small number of surviving men and women of Bethany Home must get the State apology and redress scheme they are entitled to. Their demand for a fitting memorial for the graves of children from Bethany Home in Mount Jerome cemetery must be met.

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