Bethany survivors must no longer be exempt from redress scheme

Derek Leinster (Letters, Jul 28) rightly expresses his disdain of those in government who remain equivocal on cherishing all the children of the nation equally.

It seems that abused children of the Bethany Home are less cherished by the State than those children of similar institutions. I do not wish to create another false dawn for Mr Leinster, but perhaps he might detect a glimmer of hope that justice, so long denied to him and others, might be on the horizon.

In her address to the MacGill Summer School on the Children’s Referendum (Irish Examiner, Jul 28), Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald said that she accepted that Ireland had a “nationally shameful record on protecting children”.

In acknowledging the attempts that have been made to heal the scars and wounds associated with institutional child abuse by way of the publication of the Ryan report, the State apology to victims, the setting up of the redress scheme and the proposed memorial to the abused in the Garden of Remembrance, I nonetheless believe the exemption of those former residents of the Magdalene laundries and the Bethany Home from the redress scheme is no longer defensible.

Bethany was not considered a State residential institution and therefore the children born there have been excluded from the Residential Institutional Redress Act 2002.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter recently condemned Ireland’s policy of keeping the doors of the state firmly closed to Jewish refugees in the 1930s and 1940s saying this state utterly lost its moral compass in regard to the Jewish refugee issue.

What about the Irish State’s moral compass to the children of the Bethany Home?

Tom Cooper


Dublin 16

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