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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Bethany residents 'weren't abused'

Published 24/07/2013 | 16:22

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Alan Shatter said people who were placed in the Bethany Mother and Child Home were not the subject of abuse allegations

Former residents of a Protestant mother and baby home have been refused state compensation because they did not suffer sex abuse, brutality or forced labour.

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Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the people who were placed in the Bethany Mother and Child Home could not be treated in the same way as Magdalene women or survivors of clerical abuse.

"There aren't allegations of sexual abuse such as gave rise to the Redress Board. There aren't allegations of brutality such as gave rise to the Redress Board," he said.

"There's no question as existed with the Magdalene laundries of women of different ages working for no pay of any description in the harshest of environments.

"Some of those who were in the Bethany homes were there for one or two weeks and they moved on to foster care and it simply is not practical or possible for the state to make compensation payments in these circumstances."

The Government has maintained its position that former residents will not be allowed to apply for a special compensation fund.

It offered a memorial for those who were housed in Bethany and full access to records, which the Bethany Home Survivors Group have branded an insult.

The Protestant-run house for unmarried mothers and their children was in operation from 1921-1972. It was first based in Blackhall Place, Dublin and later moved to Rathgar on the south side.

The Bethany group claims to have documents proving state officials ignored evidence of neglect and record numbers of deaths in the home in the late 1930s.

In 2010, the group, with the help of Griffith College Dublin lecturer Niall Meehan, discovered 219 unmarked graves in Mount Jerome cemetery, Harold's Cross, of children from the home.

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