AN ORGANISATION representing Protestant people who suffered by
being in "mother-and-baby homes" in Ireland says that it will take
a case to the European Court of Human Rights and the United
Nations, if its members are not included in a government inquiry
into the abuse revealed in homes run by religious institutions,
with the compliance of the State, until the late 1970s.
The Bethany Survivors Group had not been included in a
government compensation scheme on the basis that the State was not
involved in the running of Protestant homes, an allegation disputed
Bethany Home, in Dublin, had a strong Evangelical ethos, and,
while it was not formally run by the Church of Ireland, the board
was populated by Anglican clergy from time to time. It opened in
1921, and closed in 1972.
A second home that had strong Church of Ireland influence was
Westbank, in Co. Wicklow, from where children were allegedly sent
to Northern Ireland to supply free labour to farmers. There were
also allegations of physical and sexual abuse of the young people.
It closed as recently as 2002.
The Irish Minister for Children, Dr James Reilly, is overseeing
a commission of inquiry into homes formerly run by Roman Catholic
institutions, but has not promised the inclusion of the Protestant
A spokesman for the Minister said that Dr Reilly had met groups
and individuals to provide the best balance for the commission's
work. "If you put into the inquiry every particular request, we
would get an inquiry that would never end," he said. It was
intended to hold further meetings in the coming weeks, he said, so
that a memorandum could be presented to the government in the near