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From Wicklow to Wakefield - a victim of Protestant prejudice and state neglect

category national | rights and freedoms | other press author Wednesday July 01, 2009 21:17author by Derek Leinster - Victims of Institutional Protestant Prejudice - VIP(P)author email linster.d at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

Derek Leinster survived to become a trade union convener, a father and a grandfather

Protestant abuse victims must also be heard
Irish Times, Wednesday, July 1, 2009

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0701/1....html

OPINION: Victims of Protestant prejudice and State neglect are at a disadvantage, writes DEREK LEINSTER

YOU DON’T have to be a Catholic to be listened to as a victim of institutional abuse, but it seems to help. That is my experience as a Protestant victim of institutional neglect. Like all sufferers, I am a victim of prejudice.

It was prejudice that forced my mother into the Bethany Home in Orwell Road, Rathgar in 1941 for the “social sin” (as one cleric put it) of being pregnant out of wedlock. To add to her burden, her gestating baby had a Catholic father. Marriage in those circumstances was out, and so was I, fostered out to a dysfunctional family in Wicklow where I was beaten black and blue and (I mention it since it seems to be what Irish people are most interested in) sexually molested.

Derek Leinster, born in a home for 'fallen' Protestant women - click it to read it
Derek Leinster, born in a home for 'fallen' Protestant women - click it to read it

I left school illiterate when I was 13 and Ireland when I was 18, still unable to read or write. Some people escaped Catholic Ireland. I escaped the equally self-contained Protestant version, from Wicklow to Wakefield, in England.

Patsy McGarry wrote all too briefly about my call to include the Bethany Home in the Irish State’s redress scheme, but a lot about abuse being something peculiarly Irish and Catholic (Irish Times, June 20th). I can assure him that just being Irish was reason enough. That and being poor was often sufficient.

One reverend gentleman speaking in Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin in December 1945 received reports on that score from the Bethany Home, the Protestant Magdalen Home (yes, there was one) and “the Detective Branch of the Civic Guard”. Unwed pregnancy was spreading beyond the “servant girl type”. Sometimes, “business girls and occasionally university students were victims”.

He should have said “victimised”.

The Bethany Home was set up in 1922, the opening presided over by the Church of Ireland archbishop of Dublin. He said the home was “specially intended” for “fallen” women.

Another clergyman involved was the a leading supporter of the Orange Order in Dublin. When not making clever remarks about the pope, the Rev TC Hammond was persecuting fellow clerics for placing candles on church altars.

People like him pursued, as The Irish Times put it in 1964, the “moral welfare and rehabilitation” of Bethany women. The women had overstepped the boundaries of prejudice. Some found an all too fleeting happiness with a member of the opposite religion.

Their illicit offspring paid for it for the rest of their lives. Cast off, cast out, half-caste.

That was me and many others.

I am now old, a proud father and a grandfather. I want justice. Not just for myself but for all the victims of State neglect and religious narrow-mindedness. I will not rest until the lies have been exposed.

I was told that the Irish State did not monitor the Bethany Home. That is a lie. Though, as an excuse for getting off the hook, it takes some beating. It was the reason I took so many.

I forgive my dysfunctional foster father. He no more beat me because he was a Protestant than others were beaten because their tormenters were Catholics. He and his wife should never have been given a foster child.

Those who claimed to know better than the rest should have done better. They are to blame. The Irish State I do not forgive. The Irish people deserve better.

We victims of Protestant prejudice and State neglect are at a disadvantage because we were scattered to the four winds, disconnected from each other and forgotten about. Since my personal story, Hannah’s Shame, was published I have met fellow sufferers. They have medical problems alarmingly similar to mine that stem from early neglect.

I can be contacted through my website, derekleinster.com. I would like to share experiences with Catholic and Protestant victims. Maybe the Irish media and politicians will get more interested. That is up to them.

We need a bit of Protestant people power to make that happen. Catholics can join in.

I am not prejudiced. My father, who died before I discovered who he was, was a Catholic.

[Derek Leinster became a trade union official and accomplished amateur boxer in England. He is now retired. Hannah’s Shame, and a companion volume, Destiny Unknown, are available via his website, www.derekleinster.com]

See also:

Derek Leinster, The Guardian, Thursday 18 June 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/jun/18/dere...eland

Related Link: http://www.derekleinster.com

Poor, Protestant and Irish - a victim of institutional abuse - click it to read it
Poor, Protestant and Irish - a victim of institutional abuse - click it to read it

author by Myles Buchanan - Wicklow Peoplepublication date Thu Jul 02, 2009 09:57Report this post to the editors

Destiny Unknown reunites us with Derek's life story
SECOND INSTALMENT YOUNG MAN LEAVES WICKLOW TO START LIFE IN ENGLAND

www.wicklowpeople.ie/local-notes/destiny-unknown-reunites-us-with-dereks-life-story-1731909.html

By Myles BUCHANAN

Wicklow People May 06 2009

HIS FIRST BOOK centred around his tough upbringing with an impoverished foster family living in Dunganstown, and now the second instalment of Derek Leinster's life-story follows him as a young man trying to make a new life for himself over in England.

'Hannah's Shame' recounted Derek's disadvantaged beginnings as an illegitimate baby, abandoned in a children's home then fostered to a poor farming family trying to eek out a living in County Wicklow.

His next self-published and financed book 'Destiny Unknown' traces his early years over in the England, where he encountered numerous obstacles because of his upbringing.

The author readily accepts 'my lack of education was a huge disadvantage. A lot of jobs involved filling application forms. As soon as I saw an application form I would just turn around and go. I couldn't face the embarrassment. It didn't help that the jobs that didn't involve filling out an application form tended to be far lower paid jobs.'

At only 18 years of age Derek found it difficult to adapt to his new surroundings.

'I missed Ireland a bit but had to just get on with my life. I really missed the fresh air, and, funnily enough, the spuds. Potatoes in England just didn't taste as good.

'I also found it very difficult to make friends. I had absolutely no social skills and didn't know how to integrate. I'd go out on my own, and return home on my own.'

However, some form of salvation was soon to arrive under the unlikeliest guise.

'I took up boxing and it really helped bring me out of my shell. It was like joining a club where people didn't care about your background or where you were from. All they were concerned about was what you could do in the ring. This mean't a lot to me because it was around 1960 and there was still a stigma attached to someone born out of wedlock.'

Eventually Derek began to settle into his new home, especially after he met a young woman named Carol. Having settled down and married, the couple soon had a family of their own, though this too awoke some of his old insecurities.

'I was more protective of my children than was normal. I couldn't let them out of my sight. I always had to know where they were. There is no doubt my background played a role'

More information on 'Hannah's Shame' and 'Destiny Unknown' or how to purchase the books are available at www.derekleinster.com

- Myles BUCHANAN

author by Derek Leinster - Former Bethany Home residentpublication date Fri Jul 03, 2009 10:06Report this post to the editors

PRESS RELEASE

Derek Leinster former resident of the Protestant Evangelical Bethany Home (Rathgar, Dublin)

"calls on the Heads of Irish Protestant Churches to support putting the Bethany Home into the Irish government’s redress scheme".

The Bethany Home was run by an interdenominational committee from various Protestant churches. Leinster was born in the Bethany Home to an unmarried Protestant mother in 1941. He was fostered out to a dysfunctional family in Wicklow, beaten and molested and left school illiterate at age 13. He was never adopted and found out his name was Leinster at age 18. He left for England still unable to read or write. He thought clocks were decorations. He has since made a success of his life and has written two books about his experiences, Hannah’s Shame (2005) and Destination Unknown (2008).

Derek Leinster said, “The Roman Catholic Church has had to face up to its responsibilities. It is now time Protestant churchmen did the same”.

Background on the Bethany Home

The home was founded in 1922. The Church of Ireland archbishop of Dublin said it was for ‘fallen’ women. In October1939, after inspection of the Bethany home it was found that 14 infants had died since a previous visit. There were 57 children in the home at that time. This inspection stated that in addition to it being a Protestant mother and babies home, it was also a “children’s home”. On this basis alone, it should come within the terms of the redress scheme.

On July 31, 1934 the Anglo Celt reported that a ‘nurse mother’ in Monaghan with an 18 month old child from the Bethany Home left it in a room with a pot of boiling gruel, into which the child crawled and then was scalded and died.

A 1939 report by an inspector in Monaghan on children ‘boarded out’ from the Bethany Home found examples of;

• children insufficiently clad, untidy, with dirty clothes, unwashed for weeks;
• examples of too many children with a foster nurse (four in one case);
• a sick and neglected child whose nappy had not been changed for some time. The inspector called the dispensary doctor and for the foster mother to be prosecuted.

The Rathdown Board of Assistance (Dun Laoghaire) called on the Minister for Local Government to inspect the home in 1939 after sick children were removed and put in hospital. One child removed on 23 Feb 1939 to Loughlinstown hospital was found to be suffering from whooping cough and purulent conjunctivitis in both eyes and found to have faulty circulation. The child was moved from Loughlinstown to St Kevin’s Hospital, Dublin on 3 March 1939 where it remained for some time. A premature child with an ulcer on its shoulder was removed to St Ultan’s hospital on 19 May 1939, where it died on May 25.

Derek Leinster
Telephone: 00 44 1788817311

Time for Protestant churches to step up to the plate
Time for Protestant churches to step up to the plate

Related Link: http://www.derekleinster.com
author by Derek Leinsterpublication date Sat Jul 11, 2009 18:12Report this post to the editors

The Bethany Home was not included in the redress scheme, despite its being subject to a state regulatory regime - contrary to the reasonable conclusion that it should in this article by Ken Foxe - CLICK THE ARTICLE TO READ IT

Article from Irish Mail on Sunday - also in Irish Herald (US) Sept 07
Article from Irish Mail on Sunday - also in Irish Herald (US) Sept 07

Related Link: http://www.derekleinster.com
author by Valerie Robinson - Irish News 20 July 2009publication date Mon Jul 20, 2009 13:24Report this post to the editors

Derek Leinster is a victim of institutional neglect but he has not been able to tell his story to the Republic's authorities and was not mentioned in the Ryan report - because he was raised a Protestant.

TO READ ON - CLICK STORY

One of the forgotten: Derek Leinster suffered extreme neglect during his childhood while in a home set up to cater for ‘fallen’ Protestant women
One of the forgotten: Derek Leinster suffered extreme neglect during his childhood while in a home set up to cater for ‘fallen’ Protestant women

author by John Downes - Sunday Tribunepublication date Sun Sep 06, 2009 22:25author email linster.d at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

by John Downes

A former resident of a Protestant children's home in Dublin is preparing to launch a High Court challenge to force the government to include it in the state redress scheme for victims of institutional abuse.

If successful, this could leave the state facing a potential multimillion euro additional compensation bill.

Derek Leinster was born in Bethany Home in Rathgar in 1941 after his 16-year-old Protestant mother was sent there for what he calls the "social sin" of becoming pregnant out of wedlock with the child of a Catholic man.

He left school illiterate at the age of 13 after being beaten and molested by his foster parents in Wicklow, before moving to the UK where he subsequently married and settled down.

However, despite attempts to have his case placed within the terms of the redress scheme, he claims the government and Church of Ireland authorities have resisted such moves.

As a result, Leinster told the Sunday Tribune he is considering launching a legal challenge to force the government to include Bethany Home on the list of homes covered by the residential redress board, and to establish the best route to pursue in order to get the compensation he and others deserve.

He said he is aware of at least 12 other former residents of the home, based in Ireland, the UK and the US, who are still alive.

However, he estimates there are potentially hundreds of others who may be entitled to compensation for the care they received at Bethany Home.

"First and foremost I am an Irish person. I want to be treated not one jot differently being an Irish person than if I had been a Catholic Irish person," he said. "It was a toss of the coin that I ended up in Bethany Home, I could have easily have been sent to Artane, for example. If I had been, I would have been entitled to redress."

"I believe without doubt that it is sectarianism ... particularly in light of the Ryan Commission report findings, I just can't believe this is still going on in this day and age."

Leinster has previously called on the Church of Ireland, including Archbishop of Dublin John Neill, to support his calls for Bethany Home to be included in the redress scheme.

A spokesman for Archbishop Neill said that Church of Ireland authorities have contacted the redress board in recent months to draw their attention to the issues raised by Derek Leinster."

A spokeswoman for the redress board declined to comment.

Sunday Tribune September 6, 2009

www.derekleinster.com

Derek Leinster: 'I want to be treated not one jot differently being an Irish person than if I had been a Catholic Irish person'
Derek Leinster: 'I want to be treated not one jot differently being an Irish person than if I had been a Catholic Irish person'

Derek Leinster prepares legal case - Sunday Tribune 6 September 2009
Derek Leinster prepares legal case - Sunday Tribune 6 September 2009

Related Link: http://www.tribune.ie/news/home-news/article/2009/sep/0...ave-/
author by Derek Leinsterpublication date Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:10author email linster.d at gmail dot comauthor phone 00 44 1788817311Report this post to the editors

Redress for Magdalen laundry inmates
Irish Times September 22 2009

Madam, – Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe’s suggestion that the inmates of the Roman Catholic Magdalen laundries were “employees” is grotesque.
They were slaves to religious and social prejudice.
Patsy McGarry noted in, “No redress for residents of Magdalen laundries” (September 18th), that there is a “dispute” as to whether the “Protestant-run” Bethany House was a “Magdalen Asylum”. Who disputes it? Jim Smith noted in his excellent Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries and the Nation’s Architecture of Containment (2007) that women convicted of birth concealment and infanticide were referred there by the courts during the 1920s. The Irish Times and Irish Independent reported in 1931 that a court sent Mary Elizabeth Walker to Bethany after conviction for obtaining goods by deception. In the 1960s The Irish Times reported the matron as stating that prisoners on remand were kept there.
As a former resident I spoke later to some who attempted to escape from this notional mothers’ and babies’ home.
I would also question a phrase in the same article, to the effect that the Bethany Home was “privately” run. This is possibly true in only the narrowest sense. Between opening in 1922 and closure in 1972, the home held separate prayer days and annual meetings. On almost every occasion a Church of Ireland clergyman presided. The exception was during the 1960s when Methodist clergy occasionally performed these functions.
Bethany Home was an evangelistic organisation that was an outgrowth of the Proselytizing Irish Church Missions to Roman Catholics. It operated alongside the self-styled Mission to Jews. Both organisations reported annually to the Church of Ireland Synod. The Reverend TJ Hammond was involved in running the Lamplight Mission that amalgamated with the Midnight Mission to form the Bethany Home.
Besides being instrumental in setting up the home, he was Dublin Superintendent of the Irish Church Missions during the 1920s. The Revd Hammond was a favourite of those warning of Romanism within the church and was prominent in its “Orange section”. When alleged to be “the leader” at a Dublin synod in 1915 he responded, “I would be proud of the privilege if I were”.
My own relatives were members of the Orange Order in Monaghan. The organisation collected for the home both in the Republic and in Northern Ireland. My cousin cried when I told him in the 1990s what had happened to me in the place he helped support through the Order.
The governance of the Bethany Home was of a form taken by religious organisations or individuals in or closely associated with the Church of Ireland who carried out social service activity in its name.
Possibly, contemporary embarrassment has led the Church of Ireland to attempt to distance itself from a home it once promoted. The Roman Catholic Church attempted a distancing manoeuvre when first confronted with evidence of abuse carried out by those acting in its name. That church now accepts responsibility. The Church of Ireland should do likewise and so also should the Irish State. I join with my suffering sisters in the Roman Catholic Magdalen homes in demanding redress. – Yours, etc,
DEREK LEINSTER

Irish Times 22 Sept 2009 Magdalen laundry - Bethany Home and the Church of Ireland
Irish Times 22 Sept 2009 Magdalen laundry - Bethany Home and the Church of Ireland

Related Link: http://www.derekleinster.com
author by Derek Leinsterpublication date Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:30author email linster.d at gmail dot comauthor phone 00 44 1788817311Report this post to the editors

Survivor of abuse vows to fight on
Irish News November 18 2009

Valerie Robinson, Southern Correspondent

A survivor of childhood abuse and neglect has vowed to continue his battle for Irish Protestant children who were placed in care.

Derek Leinster, a former resident of the Bethany Home in Dublin, is closely monitoring efforts by the Magdalene laundries inmates to seek redress from the Irish state.

In recent weeks, officials from the Department of Justice met survivors of the Magdalene laundries, which were run by Catholic nuns.

The women have rejected a government claim that the homes were privately run by the religious orders and do not qualify under the terms of the redress scheme.

Mr Leinster was placed in the care of the Church of Ireland in 1941 after being born to a teenage Protestant mother and a Catholic father.

As a young child he was in put in foster care where he suffered neglect and abuse before fleeing as a young man to England.

He has accused the Irish government of continuing to let down the former residents of Protestant homes because they were not raised as Catholics.

Mr Leinster warned that people who spent their childhoods living in squalor and neglect while in the care of the Protestant authorities "are not going anywhere".

"The (Irish) government cannot continue to ignore us," he said.

"I've been contacted by at least 12 people who were at Bethany Home and I believe there could still be hundreds more out there."

The campaigner, who now lives in Rugby in Warwickshire and suffers health problems which he believes are linked to childhood malnutrition, said he continues to receive messages from people who survived terrible conditions while in care in both Catholic and Protestant institutions.

Mr Leinster, who has written two books about his life, called on the government to include Protestant survivors in the redress scheme set up for their Catholic peers.

He is now considering launching a High Court challenge in a bid to force the government to include Bethany Home in the scheme, allowing former residents to seek compensation.

Earlier this month, Labour Party justice spokesman Joe Costello asked the Republic's education minister Batt O'Keeffe to reconsider including the Bethany Home under the redress scheme.

The minister replied that since the publication of the Ryan Report on institutional abuse last May "a number of issues have been raised by individuals and groups representing survivors".

Mr O'Keeffe added that "all of these issues are currently being considered by the government".

Meanwhile, groups representing people placed in state-funded orphanages, reformatories, industrial schools and care homes are calling for a benevolent fund for former residents who are experiencing difficulties.

www.irishnews.com

Redress for Magdalen laundry inmates
The Irish Times September 22 2009

Madam, – Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe’s suggestion that the inmates of the Roman Catholic Magdalen laundries were “employees” is grotesque.

They were slaves to religious and social prejudice.

Patsy McGarry noted in, “No redress for residents of Magdalen laundries” (September 18th), that there is a “dispute” as to whether the “Protestant-run” Bethany House was a “Magdalen Asylum”. Who disputes it? Jim Smith noted in his excellent Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries and the Nation’s Architecture of Containment (2007) that women convicted of birth concealment and infanticide were referred there by the courts during the 1920s. The Irish Times and Irish Independent reported in 1931 that a court sent Mary Elizabeth Walker to Bethany after conviction for obtaining goods by deception. In the 1960s The Irish Times reported the matron as stating that prisoners on remand were kept there.

As a former resident I spoke later to some who attempted to escape from this notional mothers’ and babies’ home.

I would also question a phrase in the same article, to the effect that the Bethany Home was “privately” run. This is possibly true in only the narrowest sense. Between opening in 1922 and closure in 1972, the home held separate prayer days and annual meetings. On almost every occasion a Church of Ireland clergyman presided. The exception was during the 1960s when Methodist clergy occasionally performed these functions.

Bethany Home was an evangelistic organisation that was an outgrowth of the Proselytizing Irish Church Missions to Roman Catholics. It operated alongside the self-styled Mission to Jews. Both organisations reported annually to the Church of Ireland Synod. The Reverend TJ Hammond was involved in running the Lamplight Mission that amalgamated with the Midnight Mission to form the Bethany Home.

Besides being instrumental in setting up the home, he was Dublin Superintendent of the Irish Church Missions during the 1920s. The Revd Hammond was a favourite of those warning of Romanism within the church and was prominent in its “Orange section”. When alleged to be “the leader” at a Dublin synod in 1915 he responded, “I would be proud of the privilege if I were”.

My own relatives were members of the Orange Order in Monaghan. The organisation collected for the home both in the Republic and in Northern Ireland. My cousin cried when I told him in the 1990s what had happened to me in the place he helped support through the Order.

The governance of the Bethany Home was of a form taken by religious organisations or individuals in or closely associated with the Church of Ireland who carried out social service activity in its name.

Possibly, contemporary embarrassment has led the Church of Ireland to attempt to distance itself from a home it once promoted. The Roman Catholic Church attempted a distancing manoeuvre when first confronted with evidence of abuse carried out by those acting in its name. That church now accepts responsibility. The Church of Ireland should do likewise and so also should the Irish State. I join with my suffering sisters in the Roman Catholic Magdalen homes in demanding redress.

DEREK LEINSTER

Bethany Home, like the Magdalene institutions, took in women prisoners (see text below)
Bethany Home, like the Magdalene institutions, took in women prisoners (see text below)

IRISH NEWS article on call to include Bethany Home within government's Institutional Redress Scheme
IRISH NEWS article on call to include Bethany Home within government's Institutional Redress Scheme

Recent article in English magazine Warwickshire Living on Derek Leinster
Recent article in English magazine Warwickshire Living on Derek Leinster

Related Link: http://www.derekleinster.com
author by Valerie Robinson - Irish Newspublication date Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:37Report this post to the editors

Irish News February 3, 2010

Call for memorial to infants who died in Protestant home

Valerie Robinson, Southern Correspondent

A former resident of a Dublin institution for young Protestants has called for a memorial to be erected for the infants and children who died in its care.

Derek Leinster, who spent his early childhood in Bethany Home in Rathgar after being born to an unwed Protestant teenager, claims to have found evidence of a high mortality rate among young residents of the institution.

The home was founded in 1922 and run for unwed Protestant women and their children by members of the city's Protestant community.

Mr Leinster, who is waging a campaign for compensation for those housed in Bethany Home, has obtained a copy of an official report stating that 14 infants out of 57 pregnancies had died between inspections.

The British-based campaigner is now attempting to find out where the graves of those children are.

"I'm determined that these children will not be forgotten," he said.

Mr Leinster said a memorial should be erected to acknowledge that the children were born and that those who survived until childhood had lived in an atmosphere of neglect and disease.

"We lived in appalling conditions. I still have health problems today relating to the neglect I suffered as a baby," he said.

Dublin-based academic researcher Niall Meehan, who is working on an article on Bethany Home, has found that as many as six children died in a single month in the institution.

"Some of the monthly minutes record relatively high mortality. For instance in April 1929 six died. In December 1935 six died and in June 1936 five died," he said.

Mr Meehan is also attempting to find out the names of the children who died and where they were eventually buried.

Mr Leinster believes that all those children born in Bethany Home from 1921 to 1972 and those children who died before the age of five, as well as those who survived but live with the effects of neglect, should be remembered in a memorial.

Derek Leinster seeking names of children who died in the Bethany Home, and where they are buried
Derek Leinster seeking names of children who died in the Bethany Home, and where they are buried

author by Derek Leinsterpublication date Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:14Report this post to the editors

Irish Independent Friday March 26 2010

Redress should be for all victims

I endorse Professor James Smith's call for redress for the women incarcerated in Ireland's Magdalene laundries (Irish Independent, March 25 - below).

As a survivor of the Bethany Home, Rathgar, Dublin, I am aware from continuing research that it is in the same category. Bethany is known as a Protestant evangelical maternity home associated with the Church of Ireland, though the church, of which I am member, denies any responsibility for the home itself or what went on there.

Bethany was also a place where women were sent by the courts for crimes ranging from petty theft to birth concealment and infanticide. In addition, as late as 1965, women were incarcerated there "on prison remand". Bethany also took in women characterised as from "the poor prostitute class". In addition the courts sent children to the home.

I wrote to the Justice Minister on March 8 raising these and other points, such as an abnormal number of child deaths. I also asked to meet with the minister and his officials. I have yet to receive a reply, or even an acknowledgement. At least the Education Minister responded, even if it was to turn down my request for a meeting. Being ignored is par for the course with regard to the State's attitude to non-Catholic victims of institutional abuse.

I am grateful to Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) for raising the Bethany Home with government ministers and their officials, as part of the campaign for redress for survivors of the Magdalene homes. I am disheartened to note, however, from Prof Smith's letter that JFM is now also being ignored.

Equality of indifference is not good enough from a State pledged to treat all its children equally, with respect and with redress.

Derek Leinster
Warwickshire, England

Letter from Professor James Smith 25 March 2010>

Thursday March 25 2010

Does Brian Cowen believe that women deserved the treatment they endured in the nation's Magdalene laundries? Does he really think there is nothing to apologise for? Or, does he simply not care?

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) -- a survivor advocacy group -- questions Mr Cowen's political leadership on this issue. Nine months have elapsed since we first circulated draft language toward a distinct redress scheme. We also called for an official apology.

Later today, our group will meet with the Health Minister. We will ask Mary Harney to acknowledge the policy whereby women giving birth to a second "illegitimate" child in a state licensed mother-and-baby home were transferred to the laundries.

Likewise, we will seek explanation of capitation grants paid by the old health boards for "problem girls" sent to institutions.

As a result of previous meetings, the Department of Justice acknowledges that women were placed 'on remand' at the Sean MacDermott Street laundry.

The Department of Education acknowledges that children were confined in the laundries as late as 1970. JFM contends that the department failed in its constitutional obligations to protect all children in these institutions.

"A collar will protect no criminal." That was Justice Minister Dermot Ahern's media sound-bite the day his department published the Murphy report. And still there is little appetite to call the four religious congregations that operated the laundries to account.

The nuns refuse to release records for women entering the laundries after January 1, 1900. Consequently, there are no answers to key questions, such as how many women entered the laundries, why did they go there, how long did they stay, what became of their children, how many died behind convent walls, and where are these women buried?

It is precisely this lack of documentation that empowers the State to ignore Magdalene survivors' calls for redress. These women deserve to be treated with respect. No one has apologised to Ireland's Magdalene women; no one has owned up to the fact that what happened to them was wrong.

James M Smith
English Department and Irish Studies Programme, Boston College

Derek Leinster Letter Irish Independent 26 March 2010
Derek Leinster Letter Irish Independent 26 March 2010

Related Link: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/letters/redress-shoul....html
author by Times watchpublication date Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:48Report this post to the editors

James Smith's letter, reproduced here, text above, was the lead letter in the Irish Independent, while it was in the bottom right hand corner in the Irish Times on March 25th. Derek Leinster's letter was the lead top left hand corner letter in the Irish Independent on March 26th and did not appear at all in the Irish Times.

Is the Irish Times suffering from compassion fatigue? Why did the paper not publish Leinster's letter? Why no room on the letters page for Leinster?

Justice for Magdalenes - lead letter Irish Independent 25 march 2010
Justice for Magdalenes - lead letter Irish Independent 25 march 2010

author by Derek Leinster - www.derekleinster.com/Index.htmlpublication date Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:15author email derek.linster at talktalk dot netReport this post to the editors

Redress for Magdalene victims
Irish Times, March 30th 2010

Madam, – I endorse Prof James Smith’s call for redress for the women incarcerated in Ireland’s Magdalene laundries (March 25th).

As a survivor of the Bethany Home, Rathgar, Dublin, I am aware from continuing research that it is in the same category. Bethany is known as a Protestant evangelical maternity home associated with the Church of Ireland, though the church, of which I am member, denies any responsibility for the home itself or what went on there.

Bethany was also a place where women were sent by the courts for crimes ranging from petty theft to birth concealment and infanticide.

As late as 1965 women were incarcerated there “on prison remand”. Bethany also took in women characterised as from “the poor prostitute class.” In addition the courts sent children to the home.

I wrote to the Minister for Justice on March 8th raising these and other points, such as an abnormal number of child deaths. I also asked to meet the Minister and his officials. I have yet to receive a reply, even an acknowledgment. At least the Minister for Education had the courtesy of responding to me, even if it was to turn down my request for a meeting. Being ignored is par for the course with regard to the State’s attitude to non-Catholic victims of institutional abuse.

I am grateful to Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) for raising the Bethany Home with Government ministers and their officials, as part of the campaign for redress for survivors of the Magdalene homes. I am disheartened to note, however, from Prof Smith’s letter that JFM is now also being ignored.

Equality of indifference is not good enough from a State pledged to treat all its children equally, with respect and with redress. – Yours, etc,

DEREK LEINSTER,
(www.derekleinster.com/Index.html)
Southey Road, Rugby, Warwickshire, England.

Derek Leinster - Bethany Home survivor - Irish Times - 30 March 2010
Derek Leinster - Bethany Home survivor - Irish Times - 30 March 2010

Related Link: http://www.derekleinster.com/Index.html
author by Times Watchpublication date Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:33Report this post to the editors

Well done the Irish times in publishing Derek's letter.

When the letters editor is persuaded to publish a letter s/he had put aside, long winded instructions to writers are sometimes wheeled out and placed alongside (or, in this case, case immediately below) the offending missive. It takes up space where a letter could be. In fact it is a letter, the letter Editor's little letter of protest. And why not, whining is not against the letters editor's rules.

Letters Editor has a little moan - March 30th 2010
Letters Editor has a little moan - March 30th 2010

author by Derk Leinsterpublication date Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:20Report this post to the editors

Newsletter, 14 April 2010 letter attached.

Also, letter in Belfast Telepgraph Friday, 9 April 2010

Calling any former residents of Bethany Home

I was brought up in the south of Ireland in Co Wicklow by a Church of Ireland Family. I was born in the Bethany Home, Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin, in 1941. It catered for young, unmarried mothers from the Church of Ireland mainly.

While the attitudes that forced my mother into the home to give birth in secret and to give away her child have fortunately long gone, the consequences have not. I am one of those consequences and so are the many other children that went through the doors of Bethany Home and its associated Emmanuel Home, also known as Avoca (or 'Ovoca') Manor, Co Wicklow.

Many children were fostered out or adopted by families in Northern Ireland. I would love to hear from former residents. I have made contact with some but I am sure there are more out there.

One of the consequences of being from the small Protestant community in the south is that it is more difficult for us 'problem' children to make contact and to discuss common issues of concern.

There is also the issue of the scheme of redress run by the government in the Republic for homes that were inadequately regulated. The Bethany Home is currently excluded from this scheme. I don't agree with this, though I think the decision can be reversed with enough people power. So, people, where are you?

DEREK LEINSTER

www.derekleinster.com
42 Southey Road, Rugby, Warwickshire CV22 6HF

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/letters/calli...FQqFV

Derek Leinster seeks Northern ireland Bethany survivors (Newsletter 14 April 2010)
Derek Leinster seeks Northern ireland Bethany survivors (Newsletter 14 April 2010)

Related Link: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/letters/calli...FQqFV
author by Derek Leinster - Bethany Home Survivors Group publication date Thu Apr 29, 2010 14:24Report this post to the editors

Derek Leinster interview on BBC Coventry 29 April 2010
Parts 1&2 - Audio below

See also BBC Northamptonshire:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/northamptonshire/content/articles/...shtml

Church of Ireland Gazette May 2010
Letter from Derek Leinster
Review of Derek Leinster, second book, Destiny Unknown
(Below)

Derek Leinster - letter in Church of Ireland Gazette May 2010
Derek Leinster - letter in Church of Ireland Gazette May 2010

Derek Leinster - book review Church of Ireland Gazette May 2010
Derek Leinster - book review Church of Ireland Gazette May 2010



audio Derek Leinster BBC Coventry Interview - Part 1 - 29 April 2010 0.64 Mb


audio Derek Leinster BBC Coventry Interview - Part 2 - 29 April 2010 0.7 Mb
author by Derek Leinsterpublication date Fri May 21, 2010 08:40Report this post to the editors

http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0521/abuse_bethany.html

RTE Radio One Morning Ireland - report by Joe Little

Bethany infants buried in unmarked graves

Friday, 21 May 2010 07:41

The unmarked graves of 40 children from a Protestant residential institution have been discovered in a Dublin cemetery.

They contain the bodies of former residents of the Bethany Home in Rathgar, and date from 75 years ago.

A group of survivors, who say they suffered gross neglect there, are demanding access to the State's redress scheme which applies to similar institutions.

Bethany was a combined maternity and children's home and a place of detention for women convicts.

According to recently-discovered records, 40 infant-residents were buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery during 1935 and 1936.

On average, two died each month out of a floating population of 19 babies.

Researcher Niall Meehan has also established the names of all 40 babies in and around two adjoining common graves.

Derek Leinster, who spent his first four years in Bethany, will convene the home's first survivors' group there next Wednesday.

He says he and other residents were grossly neglected and still suffer poor health as a result.

He also says the State regulated Bethany and should apply its redress scheme to its survivors.

A spokesman for the Church of Ireland agreed. He said the home was run by independent trustees drawn from the Protestant community at large.

He called the deaths 'tragic'.

Related Link: http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0521/abuse_bethany.html
author by kevin flanaganpublication date Sun May 23, 2010 19:55Report this post to the editors

derek we at religiousabusetruth@gmail.com support your call to be place on the redress board for the abuse you suffered at the hand of your church please keep us informed and any help we can be abuse is abuse no matter who it is stay in touch kevin flanagan john ayers

author by vergerpublication date Mon May 24, 2010 13:08Report this post to the editors

The institutions of orphanages and industrial schools and magdalen homes all derived from the Victorian ethos of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. This was a predominantly protestant ethos as the C of E was the state religion in England, Ireland and Wales and the Church of Scotland had precedence in Scotland. The nonconformist 'chapel' churches had a strong working class and lower middle class following in Britain and Ulster. They were imbued with a similar puritan ethos. Children born outside marriage were the products of Sin. Girls who conceived outside holy matrimony were also tainted by sin. Orphans and unwed mothers were got rid of and put out of sight (and out of mind) in the closed institutions. Catholic orders of nuns and brothers in southern Ireland set up or took over the running of these institutions. The Catholics too subscribed to the Victorian ethos of the predominantly protestant UK. The Ryan report documents the horrors meted out on defenceless and forgotten children by followers of the cruel ethos.

Derek Leinster and his contemporaries spent their childhoods in the shadow of a common social ethos. I hope he achieves success in seeking redress for those who suffered and are still living.

Although Britain, especially England, became largely a secular post-church and post-chapel society from the Great War onwards, the moral ethos of Victorianism persisted into the 1960s. In the late 1940s and in the early years of the 50s church orphanages and groups like Barnardos "disposed" of hundreds of inconvenient war orphans by shipping the hapless children out to the colonies, to South Africa, Rhodesia and Australia. The British Government at the time paid for this child transportation. Gordon Brown apologised for this some months before he was voted out of power, and Kevin Rudd of Australia formally apologised for the horrible treatment of transported orphans.

author by TC Hammondpublication date Mon May 24, 2010 17:48Report this post to the editors

Those are very important points, that help to put this issue in its proper perspective. There is a new development in the Bethany Homes story at:

Bethany Home Children’s Graves discovered
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/96739

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