[Brussels 24 July] Ireland is still struggling with past cases of sexual violence in catholic schools as the Bethany House case suggests. More specifically, the Irish government announced yesterday that a redress scheme is not to be created for the Protestant Bethany Home survivors, a decision consistent with the view expressed by Minister of Education Ruairi Quinn two years ago, that there is no basis to revisit the exclusion of the Bethany Home survivors from such a scheme.
Even though the government officially rejected alleged commonalities, a lot of people focused on the similarities between the Magdalene Laundries and the Bethany Home. It is worth mentioning that two years ago, the Justice for Magdalenes advocacy group fully supported the Bethany Home survivors’ inclusion in redress, through a press release.
A lot of disappointment is expressed because of the decision.
Derek Leinster of the Bethany Home Survivors Group argued that “We have proved that the state was responsible for death and neglect at the home and that it was more interested in maintaining sectarian peace between Roman Catholics and Protestants than in child welfare.”
Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald described the announcement as unjust and cynical: "There is a wealth of evidence in the public domain proving state culpability in the neglect and harm of children residing in Bethany Home."
The National Women’s Council of Ireland expressed the view that the government must revisit the decision to exclude Bethany Home survivors from redress, through a press release published today.
You can find more information about the Bethany Survivors Group in their Facebook page.