New Events


no events posted in last week

Blog Feeds



offsite link The Wholesome Photo of the Month Thu May 09, 2024 11:01 | Anti-Empire

offsite link In 3 War Years Russia Will Have Spent $3... Thu May 09, 2024 02:17 | Anti-Empire

offsite link UK Sending Missiles to Be Fired Into Rus... Tue May 07, 2024 14:17 | Marko Marjanović

offsite link US Gives Weapons to Taiwan for Free, The... Fri May 03, 2024 03:55 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Russia Has 17 Percent More Defense Jobs ... Tue Apr 30, 2024 11:56 | Marko Marjanović

Anti-Empire >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Alternative Copy of site is available Thu May 25, 2023 14:38 | Ice-Saker-V6bKu3nz
Alternative site: Site was created using the downloads provided Regards Herb

offsite link The Saker blog is now frozen Tue Feb 28, 2023 23:55 | The Saker
Dear friends As I have previously announced, we are now “freezing” the blog.  We are also making archives of the blog available for free download in various formats (see below). 

offsite link What do you make of the Russia and China Partnership? Tue Feb 28, 2023 16:26 | The Saker
by Mr. Allen for the Saker blog Over the last few years, we hear leaders from both Russia and China pronouncing that they have formed a relationship where there are

offsite link Moveable Feast Cafe 2023/02/27 ? Open Thread Mon Feb 27, 2023 19:00 | cafe-uploader
2023/02/27 19:00:02Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

offsite link The stage is set for Hybrid World War III Mon Feb 27, 2023 15:50 | The Saker
Pepe Escobar for the Saker blog A powerful feeling rhythms your skin and drums up your soul as you?re immersed in a long walk under persistent snow flurries, pinpointed by

The Saker >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link RTEs Sarah McInerney ? Fianna Fail supporter? Anthony

offsite link Joe Duffy is dishonest and untrustworthy Anthony

offsite link Robert Watt complaint: Time for decision by SIPO Anthony

offsite link RTE in breach of its own editorial principles Anthony

offsite link Waiting for SIPO Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

Voltaire Network
Voltaire, international edition

offsite link ?Democracy?, European Union version, by Thierry Meyssan Tue May 21, 2024 07:19 | en

offsite link The Blood-Red Sunset of the West, by Manlio Dinucci Mon May 20, 2024 10:05 | en

offsite link Voltaire, International Newsletter N°87 Sat May 18, 2024 05:29 | en

offsite link Europa Viva 2024 kowtows to the Straussians Sat May 18, 2024 03:01 | en

offsite link The world economic order is falling apart, by Alfredo Jalife-Rahme Fri May 17, 2024 08:13 | en

Voltaire Network >>

Bethany Home Children’s Graves discovered

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | press release author Monday May 24, 2010 10:34author by Derek Leinster - Bethany Home Survivors Group - linster.d@googlemail.comauthor email linster.d at googlemail dot comauthor address 42 Southey Road, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV22 6HF, England Report this post to the editors

Former residents call for memorial - Wednesday 26th May, 12 noon, at MOUNT JEROME Cemetery

A Dublin Cemetery has been discovered as the gravesite of forgotten children from the Bethany Home Dublin. Bethany Home was associated with the Church of Ireland and Church of Ireland missionary society, the Irish Church Missions to Roman Catholics. It operated in Blackhall Place, Dublin, from 1921-34 and in Orwell Road, Rathgar, until it closed in 1972.

The Bethany Home was a combined maternity home, children’s home and place of detention for women convicted of petty theft, prostitution, infanticide and birth concealment.

The home and the religious ethos that sustained and ran it was part of what James Smith of Boston College in his book, ‘Ireland's Magdalen Laundries and the Nation's Architecture of Containment’ (2007), termed an Irish ‘containment culture’ that focused on single women and effectively criminalised childbirth out of wedlock.
Irish News article on discovery of Bethany graves by Valerie Robinson - 22 May 2010
Irish News article on discovery of Bethany graves by Valerie Robinson - 22 May 2010

Bethany infants buried in unmarked graves

Unmarked graves found in Dublin

Graves of Bethany children 'located at Mount Jerome'

Call for memorial to forgotten babies

Former residents of Protestant home seek redress

Unmarked graves of 40 children from Protestant home discovered in Dublin

In 1935-36 Bethany Home Dublin was required to register child mortality under the Maternity Act of 1934. Over 40 children were recorded as dying in a period when the home had 19 babies resident on average per month. The anonymous information was extracted from Bethany Home minutes, by Griffith College Dublin academic, Niall Meehan (087 6428671). The unnamed children were then independently traced by Meehan to Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harold’s Cross, Dublin, most of whom are in adjoining unmarked common graves.

Notes on former Bethany residents follows – Leinster & McQuoid only will be at Mt Jerome 26 May


Former resident, DEREK LEINSTER, born in the Bethany Home in 1941, who was recently presented with the information, has organised a short meeting at the gravesite for 12 noon, Wednesday 26th May.

At the grave site Leinster will formally launch the BETHANY HOME SURVIVORS GROUP. He said,

“This is the first Bethany Home gravesite to be discovered. It is typical in that it is umarked, 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”.

“The Bethany Home was a dangerous place for a child”, said Leinster, who today requires regular treatment for Myeloproliferative disorder in the haematology Department of St Cross, hospital, Rugby. His continuing medical problems are common among former residents. Leinster was ‘adopted’ informally in 1945 by a dysfunctional family in County Wicklow, where he was unwanted, abused, starved and left to fend for himself.

Leinster emigrated at age 18 to England illiterate and penniless. Leinster completed two volumes of autobiography, Hannah’s Shame (2005) and Destiny Unknown (2008), about his attempts to make a life, about his long and successful marriage to Carol, and his pioneering attempts to trace his birth parents in the 1960s. Leinster said,

“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 like PATRICK ANDERSON-McQUOID 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”.


Another former resident present will be PATRICK ANDERSON-McQUOID, an artist who now lives in County Leitrim. He was exported by Bethany to an evangelical Christian family in Northern Ireland. He said,

“Patrick was not my name originally, it was Cecil, but as far as the people I was sent to were concerned I was ‘Paddy from the Home’. The name stuck’.

After Patrick’s adopted mother died when he was 13 years old, he left home at 15 years old on his own and travelled to live in England. On returning to live in Ireland in 1972 he worked with the Irish Ballet Company in Cork City before being the Founder and Artistic Director of the Triskel Arts in the city.

TOM McCLEAN - Bethany's best known former resident

SAS Parachute Regiment - rowed Atlantic (1969) – planted Union Jack on Rockall (1985) – born Bethany 1943, sent to English orphanage aged 3

The first man to row the Atlantic, who landed in Mayo in July 1969, was former British paratrooper and SAS soldier, TOM McCLEAN, who left the British Army that year. He lived in Bethany Home and with one of its foster families until he was three.

After his fostering arrangement broke down, in 1947, aged three and a half, McClean was sent to Fegans, a 'tough' evangelical orphanage in Stony, Stratford, England, where ‘the religious training was rigorous. We had Bible classes every day, twice on Sunday’.

Though reportedly regularly beaten McClean claimed in his 1983 book, Rough Passage, that Fegan’s staff were ‘kindly but very strict’. McClean took a number of labouring jobs after he left aged 15, before joining the Parachute Regiment, aged 17 and a half, whose training he thought ‘like a kids tea party after Fegans’. In 1985 McClean planted a Union Jack flag on Rockall Island, and stayed there for 40 days to press Britain’s claim against Ireland’s to the uninhabited rock (in the Atlantic Ocean north-west of Donegal).

It is only in recent years, prompted by his children, that McClean has fully traced his roots. He said in 2010 (Irish Times), “I claimed Rockall for England when I was Irish!” He observed, “I’m an Irishman, sounding like an Englishman, living in Scotland! My mother, my father, my aunts and my uncles – every single person in my family going back generations is Irish. It’s quite a story, with Ireland and England and everything." It is believed that McClean fully traced his origins only recently. He had been told when growing up that his parents died in a fire. That was not true, as McClean found out before writing his 1983 book. It is believed that he has only recently discovered the full story.

Unlike with other residents, Bethany's matron retained contact with McClean. While he was taken out of a fostering arrangement in Wicklow that was not working, this did not happen with other former residents.They were left with dysfunctional families.


Bethany Home exported many children to Northern Ireland and to England, including to Barnardos. Following on from its practice of sending children outside the state to Northern Ireland and to Britain, in the 1950s Bethany home participated in the export of children to the US, a trade in children that the author of Banished Babies, Mike Millotte wrote had a ‘racist subtext’ – the children were guaranteed white and, in the case of Bethany, also Protestant


Previous Indymedia story:

Related Link:

Irish Daily Mail coverage 22 May 2010
Irish Daily Mail coverage 22 May 2010

Sun coverage 22 May 2010
Sun coverage 22 May 2010

Bethany Home common grave area - Mount Jerome cemetary
Bethany Home common grave area - Mount Jerome cemetary

author by James Smith - Boston Collegepublication date Tue May 25, 2010 13:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Madam, – Justice for Magdalenes – a survivor advocacy group – supports Derek Leinster and Niall Meehan in their demands for a full investigation surrounding the circumstances in which 40 children, resident at the Bethany Home, came to be buried at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin (Home News, May 22nd). The State had a constitutional obligation to protect all children, to supply the place of the parents, to ensure a minimum education. The fact that these children died in an institution, “outside the home,” should be fully examined and all records made available.

Ireland has been confronted with the spectre of a mass grave related to institutional “care” before – the exhumation, cremation and re-internment of 155 former Magdelene women from the High Park, Drumcondra institution in 1992 still needs a full investigation: an additional 22 bodies were discovered, death certificates were missing although they were legally required since the 19th century, names on the exhumation licence and on the subsequent headstone at Glasnevin cemetery do not correlate. These questions remain unanswered!

Similar questions must now be asked about the children buried at Mount Jerome cemetery: how did these children die, do death certificates exist for each child, were family members informed? Answers to these questions will enable an appropriate memorial stone with accurate information.

The Bethany Home, like the Magdalene Laundries, is not considered a State residential institution. Therefore, it was not included on Schedule 1 (a) of the Residential Institutional Redress Act, 2002. Consequently, survivors of the Bethany Home, like survivors of the Magdalene homes, are deemed ineligible for redress under the current scheme. Like the Magdalenes, the State deems the Bethany Home a “private and charitable” institution that was not licensed or managed by the State. And yet, the courts referred women to the Bethany Home upon giving them a suspended sentence for certain crimes; they also placed women “on probation” and, in all likelihood, placed women “on remand.”

In this sense, the Bethany fulfilled the function of the Catholic Magdalene Laundries for women from the Protestant faiths. The State always relied on its existence and availability to deal with so-called “problem women”. In researching my book on the laundries, I discovered four cases at the Central Criminal Court, between 1929 and 1945, whereby Protestant women found guilty of “concealment of a birth” were referred to the Bethany Home for periods of up to three years.

Can the Department of Justice demonstrate conclusively what became of each of these women?

– Yours, etc,

JAMES M SMITH, Associate Professor English, Department and Irish Studies Program, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, US.

James Smith BOston College on Bethany graves find - Irish Times 25 May 2010
James Smith BOston College on Bethany graves find - Irish Times 25 May 2010

author by Lennoxpublication date Thu May 27, 2010 14:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In a review of a book entitled The Irish Establishment 1879-1914, by Fergus Campbell, Oxford University Press in the online Dublin Review of Books the reviewer makes these comments in reference to a prominent churchman who had responsibility for overseeing the Bethany Home in the 1920s:

"Single mothers and their “illegitimate” children were separated from their families and community, before being separated from each other. At the 1928 annual meeting of the Bethany Home the Rev H Watson said, “if they had not the home, the children would be sent out into the world with the brand of Cain”. The Bethany Home (sometimes “House”) in Dublin appeared to cater solely for Protestant single pregnant women and their “unwanted” children. It was, according to Kurt Bowen’s definitive study of the Church of Ireland in southern Ireland, “the major facility for Protestant women in need of institutional care”. It was a residual product of the efforts of the ICM to evangelise Ireland, but served also to illustrate how, post-independence, the religiously committed in both communities were permitted to define the boundaries of sexual activity and then to police “offending” women, who were left to cope with the consequences."

The book reviewer notes that protestant and catholic attitudes to social-sexual morality in Ireland were virtually the same during the 19th century and up to the 1970s.


author by Sheila Flynn - Irish Daiily Mailpublication date Sat May 29, 2010 14:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

See also:

Call for memorial to forgotten babies

Bethany residents remembered

Irish Daily Mail 29 May 2010 two page spread - Click to read
Irish Daily Mail 29 May 2010 two page spread - Click to read

Irish Daily Mail 29 May 2010 p 22 - Click to read
Irish Daily Mail 29 May 2010 p 22 - Click to read

Irish Daily Mail 29 May 2010 p 23 - Click to read
Irish Daily Mail 29 May 2010 p 23 - Click to read

Former Bethany Home residents Derek Leinster, Patrick Anderson McQuoid and Noleen Belton attend a memorial service at the unmarked graves of 40 children from the home in Mount Jerome cemetery in Dublin
Former Bethany Home residents Derek Leinster, Patrick Anderson McQuoid and Noleen Belton attend a memorial service at the unmarked graves of 40 children from the home in Mount Jerome cemetery in Dublin

author by Atheistpublication date Sun May 30, 2010 09:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So much for Christianity.
A superstition which has never practiced what it preaches.

author by V for vendettapublication date Sun May 30, 2010 13:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I wonder how the pro lifers feel about all this?
They have been strangely silent on the matter.
Perhaps they could issue a statement about their outrage at the premature deaths of these innocent children at the hands of church actors??

author by Reporters - Irish Daiily Mail, Irish Times, Irish Newspublication date Mon May 31, 2010 08:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Irish Times - Thursday, May 27, 2010

Call to include Bethany residents in redress scheme


A GROUP has called on the Government to include former residents of a Protestant-run home in the redress scheme for victims of abuse.

The Bethany House Survivors Group represents people who attended two Bethany Homes in Dublin between 1921 and 1972.

The group was formally announced yesterday following the discovery last week of 40 unmarked graves of children at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold’s Cross, Dublin.

The children had resided in Bethany Home, a residential institution which operated in Blackhall Place, Dublin, from 1921-1934 and in Orwell Road, Rathgar, until it closed in 1972.

Derek Leinster of the group, who was born at the Orwell Road house in 1941 and now lives in Rugby, Warwickshire, says if the State has any compassion, it will include former Bethany residents in the redress scheme.

“We’re calling for the State to recognise the non-Catholic people who were buried and born in the same circumstances as a lot of the Catholic people that were compensated under the redress scheme.

“We want our home to be added on to the list of institutions in order to qualify for the scheme so that children who were buried here in 1935 can get the recognition they so richly deserve,” he said. Mr Leinster, whose book Destiny Unknown tells his personal story of his time at Bethany House, said plans are also under way to erect a memorial in honour of the children, many of whom were no more than six months old when they were buried in Mount Jerome.

“We also want to have a permanent memorial erected with their names on it. We have all their names although the State tried to stop us from getting them.”

More than 40 children were recorded as dying in a period when the home had 19 babies resident on average per month, according to Griffith College Dublin academic Niall Meehan. They were traced by Mr Meehan to Mount Jerome Cemetery.

The children had been buried at the cemetery between 1935 and 1936 when Bethany Home Dublin was required by law to register child deaths.

However, the Government last night said that despite €1.36 billion being allocated so far by the State and religious orders under the redress scheme, no additional expenditure is planned for new cases.

The Residential Institutions Redress Board, set up in 2002, is charged with compensating those who had suffered abuse in childcare institutions subject to State regulation.

Call to include Bethany residents in redress scheme - Irish Times 27 May 2010
Call to include Bethany residents in redress scheme - Irish Times 27 May 2010

Bethany Home Survivors remember forgotten babies - Irish News 27 May 2010
Bethany Home Survivors remember forgotten babies - Irish News 27 May 2010

75 years on, the forgotten babies are mourned - irish Daily Mail 27 May 2010
75 years on, the forgotten babies are mourned - irish Daily Mail 27 May 2010

author by Sheila Flynn - Irish Daily Mail 29 May 2010publication date Wed Feb 02, 2011 09:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Text of the 2-page Daily mail spread above:


In this unmarked grave lay the bodies of 40 children who died in a
Protestant care home. Only now, four decades since it closed its
doors, is the horror of what went on inside beginning to emerge...

SPECIAL INVESTIGATION, Irish Daily Mail 29 May 2010
Byline: by Sheila Flynn

CLUTCHING a bouquet of flowers, Derek Leinster gazes down at an
unmarked plot in Mount Jerome cemetery Mount Jerome Cemetery is
situated on the south side of Dublin, Ireland. Since its foundation in
1836, it has witnessed over 300,000 burials. Originally an exclusively
Protestant cemetery, Roman Catholics have also been buried there since
the 1920s.

'May God forgive them and may you forever be remembered in Irish
history,' he says, looking at the ground. 'No more secrecy. I love you
and I'll never forget you.' Derek has joined the handful of former
residents and their friends and families on this sunny May day to
remember almost 40 children buried in two mass graves.

'We're on our way out, we haven't got much time left,' he says.
'Please give us justice while we're still here.'

Bethany House operated for 50 years from 1922 until 1972, first at
Blackhall Place, and then in Rathgar, Dublin. Many of the women who
gave birth there are deceased, and most children born at Bethany -
like Derek - are well past middle age. Many were unaware they had even
resided there, before being placed with foster families.

Derek was born in Bethany House in 1941. His mother, Hannah, from a
staunchly Protestant family in Co. Meath, was a teenager when she was
sent there after falling pregnant to a Catholic. Scandalised, neither
her family nor his would allow the young couple marry.

He only traced his parents when his wife helped him access and trawl
looking for something of interest. through adoption records; he only
had limited communication with his mother, who has since died, and
never met his father - although he came to realise their paths had
crossed when he filled his car at his father's petrol station.

Hannah spent eight months in total at Bethany - four months before the
birth and four after. She then went to work at a nearby convalescent
home but eventually left for England. After his mother left the home,
Derek succumbed to a succession of illnesses.

Derek said: 'I went into Cork Street Isolation Hospital when I was
three years old and was there for four-and-a-half months with
pertussis and enteritis.' Shortly after recovering, he was sent into
the foster care of a Protestant family in Wicklow.

He was beaten regularly and went unwashed, unfed and uneducated, as he
was not required to go to school by his foster parents.

He eventually emigrated to England at 18, illiterate and painfully
shy. When Derek tracked down his birth mother decades later, she told
him that Bethany was 'a hellhole'.

Bethany survivors have lobbied for years to be included in
compensation packages from the Residential Institutions Redress Board,
for which they are ineligible, like the women from the Magdalene
Laundries. The State denies responsibility for the institutions,
deeming them private.

With the discovery of the mass graves for babies, their calls for
transparency have become more pressing. Derek and other survivors are
horrified that babies - some just a few days old, and with an average
age of three to six months - died en masse at Bethany. In a single
year, 40 infants died and were buried in unmarked plots.

The location of the graves has only recently been uncovered, and the
names of the babies buried revealed through meticulous research by
Dublin academic Niall Meehan. So far he's only been able to identify a
cause of death for a handful.

Seven-week old Samuel George Webster died in August 1935 of
'delicacy', (anything from prematurity to malnutrition to a tendency
for infections). Three-week old William Armstrong died of convulsions
in September 1935 and nine-month-old Joseph O'Neill died of meningitis
in October 1935.

For 13 years, Bethany operated without inspection. They weren't
required to record deaths until after the passing of the Registration
of Maternity Homes Act in 1934. Survivors want to know the truth about
what happened there. They fear that 40 dead babies in a year, as
shocking as it is, does not reveal the full picture.

Opened in May 1922 by the Church of Ireland Noun 1. Church of Ireland
- autonomous branch of the Church of England in Ireland
Anglican Church, Anglican Communion, Church of England - the national
church of England (and all other churches in other countries that
share its beliefs); has its see in Canterbury Archbishop of Dublin,
John Allen Fitzgerald Gregg, Bethany was declared 'a door of hope for
fallen women'.

Its ethos was resolutely Protestant.

The managing committee was composed of both lay people and clerics,
with a clergyman elected annually as chairman to manage the practical
and religious agenda of the home.

One member of the committee, TC Hammond, who served from 1922 until
1935 was a superintendent of Irish Church Missions The Irish Church
Mission to the Roman Catholics (ICM) was founded in 1849 chiefly by
English Anglicans with the backing and support of Church of Ireland
clergy and Bishops. Inspiration for its beginning came from - an
anti-Catholic society within the Church of Ireland which vehemently
opposed 'Anglo-Catholic' tendencies.

Hammond had once been suspected of being leader of the Dublin Diocesan
Synod's Orange Order but claimed, 'I would be proud of the privilege
if I were'.

The day-to-day management of Bethany fell to nurses and matrons.

The managerial matrons were Henrietta Walker, who died in the 1950s,
and Kathleen Glover, who presided until its closure.

Clergy throughout the country would refer or bring girls to Bethany -
mostly women who had become pregnant out of wedlock. Others were sent
by their families. Some children arrived the same way; one Department
of Health file in 1946 shows that the baby of a 19-year-old from Cavan
was sent to Bethany by Reverend Thornton at the rectory in Cavan.

Women were also referred by the courts. Records show that four women
were sent to Bethany after being convicted of infanticide.

Other women were sent there for more unusual offences. In February
1931, Bray District Court sentenced a servant girl to six months in
Bethany for pretending to be party of the Norwegian consulate and
fraudulently obtaining a week's free board in a Bray hotel.

Little is known of these women's daily lives. The home did not operate
a laundry, but the minutes make reference to some of the 'girls' doing

However there was a financial element. According to Griffith College
academic Niall Meehan some unwed mothers were required to make 'thank
you' payments to Bethany for discreetly hosting them during their
pregnancies and births.

It was through Derek Leinster that Mr Meehan, who heads the journalism
and media faculty, became involved last year.

He said: 'Derek's story was the key to what had happened. As a result,
I got access to the minutes of the home, which were located in the
library of the Church of Ireland.' The National Archives had listed
the minutes as being in the Church's library, but when Niall checked,
they hadn't been recorded in the catalogue. Derek was told the records
had been lost - but after a month, they surfaced.

Mr Meehan said: 'Apparently they'd been found in a safe.

'From the files it was clear there was a huge spike in infant
mortality in 1935 and 1936. I wanted to find out because the minutes
didn't say who the children were, what they died of or what ages they

'That year is significant because it was the first time Bethany was
required to record infant deaths and allow inspections under the
Registration of Maternity Homes Act of 1934. Before that, institutions
were not subject to State supervision.

'It is obvious from committee minutes and other records that the
children's welfare at Bethany was an issue from the outset.

'The quality of care was a frequent topic at meetings - which opened
and closed with extensive prayers led by the clergyman present.' In
1926, for example, a nurse was sacked after she became engaged to a
Catholic. She was replaced by another, Nurse Pilgrim, but when she
left in 1928, infant mortality increased sharply. Two children died
between December 1928 and January 1929, and six more died in March.

Two committee members resigned at the following meeting, along with
the matron at the time. Nurses were often employed without
qualifications, so long as they subscribed to the religious ethos of
the home, which was referred to as 'the mission'.

When evangelist committee member Hammond resigned in 1935, to take up
a theological position in Australia as head of Sydney's Moore
Theological College, Matron Walker drew up a 'doctrinal' pledge for
new committee members.

It included a professed belief in 'the utter depravity of human nature
in consequence of the fall' and 'the eternal blessedness of the
righteous, and the eternal punishment of the wicked'.

The religious instruction of the children continued long after they
left Bethany, usually at the age of four. Their teaching, rather than
their continuing care, was paramount.

Mr Meehan added: 'The Protestant population in the South of Ireland
decreased to four per cent. The children were sent out to foster
families and a lot of them were dysfunctional. Most seem to have been
chosen for religious reasons.' A report in the Anglo-Celt newspaper
from 1934, claimed that a 'nurse mother' (foster mother) in Monaghan
left an 18-month-old Bethany child alone in a room with a pot of
boiling gruel gruel.

Derek Leinster has a copy of a 1939 report by an inspector in Monaghan
on 'boarded out' children - those sent to foster homes.

It 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)'.

It also reports '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'.

Leitrim artist Patrick Anderson McQuoid was sent to live with a
staunch family in Co. Down. Mr Mc-Quoid, who attended the Mount Jerome
service said: 'My adopted father was 51 or 52 when he adopted me; he
was born in 1901, very Victorian, wasn't allowed to get married until
his mother died, for example.

'I didn't have a good time, to say the least - beatings and things. As
I get older, I can forgive, but at the time it was traumatic - in the
sense that it was very strict, and, being adopted, I was pretty
fragile and traumatised.' Despite their experiences, however, former
residents are not entitled to redress under the current scheme.

Bethany is not considered a State residential institution so was not
included on the Residential Institutional Redress Act of 2002.

It was deemed 'private and charitable', not managed or licensed by the
State - despite functioning variously as a centre of remand, care home
and maternity hospital.

Professor James Smith of Boston College, an Irish academic who has
researched the home, said: 'Certainly throughout the 1940s, Bethany
was in part a mother and baby residence, in part orphanage/industrial
school and in part receiving women from the courts.

'It wasn't defined by the State as a residential institution,
therefore survivors are shut out from the Ryan Report, from the
Redress Board.

'Because the Bethany home, although it was fulfilling this variety of
functions with at least the knowledge of the State - and I would go so
far as to say the complicity of the State - it was never licensed, it
wasn't regulated. Therefore it's not on the Residential Institutions
Redress Act.' The Church of Ireland said it would have no objection to
Bethany being included in the redress scheme - but it is 'entirely a
matter for the Redress Board'.

A spokesman also took pains to distance the church from the running of the home.

He said: 'The Bethany home was not, as has sometimes been reported,
under Church of Ireland patronage or management.

'It was run by an independent, inter-denominational board of trustees
drawn from the Protestant community at large. To the best of our
knowledge this board has been dissolved.' The full story of the
Bethany home - its procedures, its survivors, its fatalities - is only
beginning to be told. A retired Church of Ireland Archdeacon of
Dublin, who was among those gathered this week at Mount Jerome to
honour the babies in two mass graves, stood to the side after the

Clearly perturbed he kept looking at the dirt mound and the flowers
Derek had arranged. It was a telling reminder that there are current
members of church bodies struggling to deal with the past bequeathed
to them.

For Derek Leinster, however, this is only the start of his quest. He
is determined that all those children will get more than a marked plot
- but the names and stories that history has, until now, denied them.

Tears for lost souls: Derek Leinster was born at Bethany
Not forgotten: A teddy bear lies on the unmarked graves of 40 children
at Mount Jerome

Text of this 29 May 2010 Daily Mail here
Text of this 29 May 2010 Daily Mail here

Number of comments per page
© 2001-2024 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy