McDonald calls on Minister to extend redress scheme to Bethany Home survivors

Local TD and newly elected Leader of Sinn Fein Mary Lou McDonald has called on the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to ensure the necessary preparations are put in place over the coming months to deliver  on the recommendations of the Mother and Baby Home Commission of Investigation when it publishes its final report early next year.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes published its third interim report in December of last year and is expected to conclude its work in February 2019. The Commission sought and secured an extension of 12 months for delivery of two of its three final reports.

“This delay has caused a mixed reaction from survivors. Many are deeply disappointed as they’ve already waited a lifetime for the full truth of the Mother and Baby Homes to be exposed and an apology to be offered to them on behalf of the state.

“Others have accepted the extension on the basis that the final report will contain a thorough investigation into the homes and related matters. Sinn Féin has called on the Government to ensure the Commission is provided with the full resources necessary to deliver on this expectation.

“We have also welcomed in the Minister for Children and Youth Affair Minister’s commitment to establish a Collaborative Forum to support former residents, and her decision to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence to Ireland.

“We remain particularly concerned for the small number of the Bethany Home survivors whose campaign is well known and their experiences well documented. There is a wealth of information already in the public domain detailing the horrific experiences of the Bethany children under the state’s watch.

“The Commission in its second interim report held the view that Bethany Home survivors have a strong case for inclusion in the states redress scheme, as well as a number of other Mother and Baby and County Homes.

“Government’s past and present do not have a good record when it comes to their treatment of surviving women and children incarcerated in laundries or industrial schools. Even where redress schemes have been put in place many survivors have been excluded.

“It would be a helpful gesture at this juncture if the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs detailed to survivors’ the preparations she intends to put in place in advance of the Commission’s final report to ensure a speedy delivery on its recommendations next year.” ENDS