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Guest Why Have Government Officials Denied non Catholic Children Justice?
Bookmark and Share      Created: 2011-03-10 23:28:45   Last updated : 2011-03-11 08:30:12

Why  Have Government Officials  Denied non Catholic Children Justice?
In 2011 Irish people would be horrified to know that Government officials deliberately misled surviving former residents of the Bethany Home, Dublin. The home took in non-Catholic unmarried mothers, their children, prostitutes and women convicted of various crimes between 1922-72.

Officials said the Bethany Home
did not come under the jurisdiction of the Redress schedule for survivors of abuse, as it was a privately run mother and baby institution in which the state played no role.  When corrected on this they changed the story that in order to qualify for inclusion children would have to be sent to a home by court order. I then pointed out that while there were 50 institutions where this was the case, there were over 100 on the schedule where that was not the case.

We had repeatedly for 13 years tried to get Bethany Home records from the archives, but were denied them by the same officials who have mislead and frustrated me. The HSE knew in 2004 that the Bethany Home came under their jurisdiction. After I obtained documents stating this unofficially in 2007, the HSE then notified Education that Bethany Home residents did indeed qualify for redress. We were turned down again

Then Professor James Smith of Boston College noted that non-Catholic girls were being sentenced in the Four Courts for Infanticide and given the option of serving their time in the Bethany Home. After that, Niall Meehan of Griffith College produced contemporary newspaper reports of other women sentenced to serve their time in Bethany.

In 2010 Meehan notified the Justice Dept that in 1945 Bethany's Managing Committee wrote to Justice to ask why a court sent a child was to Bethany. More information was drip fed. Justice revealed that the then Minister of Justice Mr Boland asked Dublin C of I Archbishop, Dr Barton, to nominate a place of detention for C of I females up to the age of 17 years. Barton chose Bethany Home. Government officials would have been aware of these facts, but hid them until forced to reveal them. The Bethany Home is eminently qualified to be included in the Redress schedule. It is too late for the 220 Bethany children buried in unmarked graves, discovered in 2010. The state Deputy Chief Medical Adviser dismissed their deaths in 1939 with the observation that it was 'well known' that illegitimate children were 'delicate'.

Why have Government officials denied non-Catholic children justice? There should be a public enquiry into this scandal.

The Government has paid out 1.2 billion mainly to Catholic survivors of abuse. The Irish Embassy in London is funded by the Irish Government to the tune of 800 million euros to help Irish groups. When Bethany survivors applied for funding, we were turned down. We also applied to Education for funding. Again we did not qualify. They went to great lengths in telling us how careful they had to be in giving this money out, so careful they were giving us none. That is not backed up by recent media reports. The state has thrown money unaccountably at this problem, trying to buy off its responsibility for running a dysfunctional sectarian health, education and welfare system. It is now 'solving' it in a sectarian manner, leaving non-Catholics outside the door.

We appeal to all people in a position to influence justice in the Irish Society. Victims of non-Catholic abuse should be treated equally and no differently than had they been abused as Catholics.
Derek Linster
Chairperson Bethany Survivors
42 Southey Road
Rugby CV22 6HF
01788 817311

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