Former residents of Protestant home seek redress

FORMER residents of a Protestant home for children and “fallen women” have reiterated calls for their abuse to be recognised under the government’s Redress scheme.

The call comes following the discovery of a children’s grave at the Bethany Home in Dublin, where former residents hope to erect a memorial.

The Bethany Home was set up in 1922 and was run by an interdenominational committee from various Protestant churches.

Griffith College Dublin academic Niall Meehan traced unnamed dead children registered with the home to adjoining unmarked common graves in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harold’s Cross.

Former resident of the home Derek Leinster, born in the Bethany Home in 1941, who was recently presented with the information, has organised a meeting at the grave site for 12 noon on Wednesday.

Mr Leinster said it was time for the state to include the Bethany Home, Rathgar, Dublin, in the redress scheme for victims of institutional abuse and neglect.

Leinster was informally adopted in 1945 by a dysfunctional family in Co Wicklow, where he was unwanted, abused, starved and left to fend for himself.

He emigrated at age 18 to England and subsequently wrote two books and attempted to trace his birth parents in the 1960s.

“I received no help in my efforts from the state and mainly indifference from my former Church, the Church of Ireland. That is why I want these children to be remembered. Former residents and I are going to raise money for a proper memorial for the children and I hope the churches that were so keen to claim them spiritually but neglected them physically, emotionally and subsequently, will contribute generously”.

Mr Leinster said the Bethany Home was a “dangerous place” for a child.

“This is the first Bethany Home grave site to be discovered. It is typical in that it is unmarked, unnoticed and uncared for. This could have been me. I was not expected to live when I was hospitalised from 24 August 1944 to 7 January 1945, suffering, aged three, from Pertussis, Bronchial Pneumonia, Diphtheria and Enteritis,” Mr Leinster said.

Claims have also been made that the Bethany Home participated in the export of children to the US in the 1950s.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.