When the Ryan Report was published in 2009 there were a number of calls for the Residential Institutions Redress Act to be extended to include additional institutions, including the Bethany Home.
As the Deputy will be aware, my colleague the Minister for Education and Skills is responsible for the Redress Act legislation and related arrangements and that the scheme has been closed to new applications since 2011. Eligibility for the scheme has been reviewed on a number of occasions and it has not been extended to any additional institution since 2005.
In its second Interim Report the Commission suggested that eligibility for the Redress Scheme be re-examined. I raised this over a period of weeks with government colleagues. and the Attorney General. Subsequent to those discussions, the Government decided not to extend the scheme.
The Commission had made no findings to date regarding abuse or neglect, within Mother and Baby Homes, including the Bethany Home, and colleagues believed it would not be appropriate to deal with the question of redress in advance of any conclusions by the Commission.
At that time, the Government made a further decision that. in light of the Commission's commentary, consideration would be given to provide supports to former residents. It was on this basis that I established the Collaborative Forum of former residents, and Bethany Home survivors are represented in the membership. The Forum has produced a report that includes a series of recommendations on matters of priority to them and their families.
I will be bringing the report to Cabinet shortly to facilitate its detailed consideration by Government.