Justice for Bethany

Why were the Irish civil service and the 18 holy orders able to hijack the 2002 Redress Act? The State’s position was set out in the Dáil by the then minister for education, Michael Woods, as to how the homes and institutions would qualify. Over 120 homes and institutions went on the official list and no survivor could receive redress unless their institution was on the official list

of Homes.

There was a provision inserted to cover all homes and survivors — if they were able to provide proof that that their former institution was subject to official inspection and came under the jurisdiction of the State. If they did, that would qualify them and their former residence for inclusion on the official list of homes. All the minister had to do, when survivors of a home or institution were able to make their case, was to inform the Dáil (and it did not have to be voted on) that the home be added to the list of eligible Institutions.

The Protestant Bethany Home was without a doubt the first home or institution to have researched and provided the incontrovertible and irrefutable proof of their case. I, Derek Linster, a survivor of the notorious Bethany Home was the first campaigner and researcher to unearth the proof by using freedom of information requests. But that didn’t matter, the civil servants ignored the words and promises of Minister Woods in the Dáil in 2002. They ignored the 2002 Redress Act itself and suddenly their arrangements coincided with the wishes and demands of the infamous 18 holy orders where two elderly nuns ran rings around the Government.

Why is there no accountability in the Dáil? No civilised state would allow civil servants to carry our dirty deals done behind closed doors in secret and display such contempt for the Dáil and the citizens and Constitution of Ireland.

This new Government must put a stop to this evil. Survivors have been silenced long enough. Justice delayed is justice denied. It is past time to acknowledge the handful of elderly Bethany survivors who still remain and apologise to them before a future Taoiseach ends up apologising to headstones.

It is long past time to finally deliver justice to the Bethany home survivors and stop playing political games while survivors die. Justice for Bethany now!

Derek Linster

A Survivor and Founder of the Bethany Home Survivors Group in 1998



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