Wednesday, 13 March 2013 08:36

Bethany Home survivors seek redress

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Following the governments decision to look at the possibly of offering compensation* to survivors of the Magdalene laundries, the Bethany Survivors' Group has said it hopes that the Magdalene redress scheme will be extended to cover former residents of the Bethany Home in Dublin, which closed in 1972.

Bethany Home (sometimes called Bethany House or Bethany Mother and Child Home) was a residential home in Dublin, Ireland mainly for women of the Protestant faith, who were convicted of petty theft, prostitution, infanticide, as well as women who were pregnant out of wedlock, and the children of these women. The home was run by evangelical Protestants, mainly (up to the 1960s) members of the Church of Ireland. It catered to "fallen women" and operated in Blackhall Place, Dublin (1921-34), and in Orwell Road, Rathgar (1934-72), until its closure. The home sent some children to Northern Ireland, England, and to the United States.

The Bethany Survivors' Group has said that the State should take responsibility for the home and set up a redress scheme for the 20 or so Bethany survivors. It has also been suggested that the Church of Ireland should contribute to the redress.

There was evidence of ill-treatment and bad conditions at the Bethany Home and 219 children were buried in unmarked graves in Mount Jerome Cemetery.

The Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin has said there needs to be a conversation between the churches and the State about redress for the Bethany survivors.

Also speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Dr Jackson said he supports calls for redress to be extended to the Bethany survivors but declined to answer directly whether the Church of Ireland should contribute to any such scheme.

The women of Dublin's Stanhope Street Training Centre will be entitled to apply for redress under the Magdalene laundries redress scheme. That institution was not included in the McAleese report but was included in the Taoiseach’s apology in the Dáil.

Stanhope Street Training Centre was not recorded as a Magdalene Laundry even though many women spent many years there working under harsh conditions.

*In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

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