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PMB: Sinn Fein: motion re Bethany Home

Vote from 11/12/2013

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The Bethany House motion was moved by Deputy Mary Lou McDonald and amended by Minister of State Kathleen Lynch.

The motion, as amended, was agreed to 73:44

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Background information

That Dáil Éireann:

  • accepts that Bethany Home, Rathgar (1922 – 1972) was a maternity home, a children’s home 1959 and a place of detention for women on remand or convicted of crimes referred by the courts;
  • further accepts that Bethany Home was subject to inspection under the Registration of Maternity Homes Act 1934;
  • recognises the State’s failure to vindicate the rights of sick and dying Bethany children after receiving reports of neglect by the Deputy Chief Medical Advisor;
  • acknowledges that 219 Bethany Home children died between 1922 and 1949, and these same children currently lie in unmarked graves in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin;
  • further acknowledges Department of Local Government and Public Health inspector and media reports detailing the very serious neglect of Bethany children in the home and of children sent to nurse mothers;
  • considers most serious the exclusion of the surviving men and women of Bethany Home from the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme, which provided for fair and reasonable awards to persons who, as children, were abused while resident in other institutions subject to State regulation or inspection; and
  • commits to a Dáil debate by mid-February 2014 as a first step in the delivery of a State apology, redress mechanism and access to personal records for the small number of surviving men and women of Bethany Home.

To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” and substitute the following:

notes that Bethany Home evolved from two private charities, the Dublin Midnight Mission and Female Refuge and the Dublin Prison Gate Mission, which predate the existence of the State; and that in 1934 it moved from Blackhall Place to Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin and remained there until it ceased operation in 1972;

  • operated as a charitable trust and carried out a range of functions, but in 1940 the High Court found that the majority of cases it dealt with were maternity cases;
  • was registered as a maternity home and was inspected under the Maternity Homes Act 1934; and was not an enclosed institution;
  • acknowledges that Bethany Home operated at a time when poverty was widespread, infant mortality rates were high and that life for those children without family support could involve serious hardship;
  • recognises that those who were, as children, in homes and institutions have a right to access their personal records; and
  • commends the efforts being made to preserve and make more accessible relevant records
    • (Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, Deputy Kathleen Lynch)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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