Personally, I do not believe that the children were buried at that septic tank site but I do know that 227 children from the Bethany Home were all buried in unmarked paupers’ graves; no different than being buried in a cesspit and it makes me feel sick when I think about it as that was where they was planning to put me in 1944.
I was at Bethany Home and so ill that year that that’s where all believed that I’d end up.
There was an international outcry about Tuam and there is no proof of bodies. In contrast, we had proof but it took until last year before we had a memorial to all those children. And all we got was a memorial.
Now, the Bethany Home survivors, all Protestant, have to go to this new mother and baby home commission to tell their story. Many of us are old and frail and some have dementia and may have to come from all over the world.
Many will remember little about their time at Bethany as they were so young and some only found out their past when they went to get married and found out they had a different name to what they know. They had been adopted out by the home without ever knowing it.
The State didn’t care about us as we were a small Protestant religion; we weren’t on their radar.
They didn’t think we’d find the information to build a case but I did through Freedom of Information requests.
But it wasn’t about right and wrong for the State 13 years ago. It was about the 18 holy Catholic orders and not the Protestant minority. But eventually we’ve got there, we’re part of the mother and baby home investigation.
But now old, aged survivors are being offered a ‘confidential committee’ and can’t get reimbursed for associated legal costs if they want their solicitor to join them at this confidential committee. This is denying us human rights.
We want to be treated the same. We are not less.