Abuse of children of non-Catholic denominations must be acknowledged

I was surprised to hear the journalist Bruce Arnold tell Marc Coleman on Newstalk a few days ago that I came ‘lately’ on the scene when he was writing his book about child abuse in Irish orphanages and industrial schools.

Arnold made the comments after Coleman broadcast an interview with me.

That was Arnold’s excuse for concentrating in his book on Roman Catholic Church responsibility for abuse.

In fact, I first contacted Arnold in 2001, to tell him of abuse in Protestant-run institutions, in my case the Bethany Home in Dublin.

I gave Arnold a lot of information. I must have over-complicated his account of Roman Catholic perfidy because my story was not published, for whatever reason.

Bethany Home did not sufficiently penetrate the consciousness of the public, or of politicians, until we uncovered the unmarked graves of 219 Bethany children in Mount Jerome cemetery in 2010.

At that stage, however, we had missed the boat and were denied redress by the State.

While a particular gripe, my general point is that many Irish journalists, most from the Roman Catholic tradition, were so hyped on the dominant Church that they failed to address the abuse of children who were not of that background. In demonstrating what they thought was a non-sectarian critique of their own religious background, they excluded children who did not fit within that simple framework.

I just thought I should get that off my chest, as we await Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s decision on what to do about this legacy issue affecting members of religious minorities in Ireland.

While the children of the nation were abused equally, they are yet to be equally cherished.

Derek Leinster chairman,

Bethany Survivors

Rugby

England

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