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Why were there no Protestant clerics at Bethany memorial day?

The Archbishop Of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, attended a memorial service for Bishop KH Ting at Mochou Road Church in Nanjing, China, on Saturday, Dec 8.

We should applaud this honourable act — no doubt, the memory of the deceased bishop rightly deserved to be marked in this way.

However, as survivors of abuse, suffered in Protestant-run children’s homes in Ireland, we are bewildered that when we held a memorial service in August, at Mount Jerome cemetery in Dublin, neither the archbishop, nor one of his representatives, walked down the road to take part in the memorial.

Indeed, (although invited), not one protestant cleric attended the memorial, which honoured and remembered the 219 children (that we know of) who died in the protestant-run Bethany Home, Dublin, between 1922 and 1949: that’s one death every six weeks, and they lie in unmarked graves in Mount Jerome. None of the children had been hospitalised and they died mainly from neglect, malnutrition and tuberculosis. Often, they were buried during the night with no ceremony, on the same day they died.

There are 219 nameless, faceless, unwanted so-called illegitimate children in this graveyard. They were from Bethany. They need to be recognised by the State in which they lived, and the churches of which they were members. They were abused and they were neglected. This was avoidable at the time and this needs to be recognised now.

We humbly beseech Dr Jackson to come to Mount Jerome.

Derek Leinster

Chair

Bethany Survivors Group,

Rugby,

United Kingdom


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