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Bethany survivors write to new Minister for Education

category national | rights and freedoms | news report author Friday March 11, 2011 10:42author by Derek Leinster - Bethany Survivors 00 44 1788 817311author email derek.linster at talktalk dot netauthor address 42 Southey Road Rugby CV22 6HF Warwickshireauthor phone 00 44 1 788 817311 Report this post to the editors

"Dear Ruairi please put us on the redress scheme list...."

Dear Ruairi Quinn, Minister for Education and Skills,

Congratulations on your appointment as Minister.

We ask you to consider sympathetically and favourably the request of Bethany Home survivors to be included on the schedule to the redress scheme for survivors of institutional abuse. We have been greatly assisted in the past by, amongst others, Joe Costello TD, Katleen Lynch TD and by Senator Ivana Bacik, who have supported our campaign. TDs from all parties have supported our request.

Bethany History Ireland article releasing info on 219 unmarked graves - PDF available below
Bethany History Ireland article releasing info on 219 unmarked graves - PDF available below

The Bethany Home, Dublin took in non-Catholic unmarried mothers, their children, prostitutes and women, including children, convicted of various crimes between 1922-72. The home’s intake reflected the criminalisation of childbirth outside marriage in Irish society.

In 2010 our researcher, Niall Meehan of Griffith College, discovered the unmarked graves of 219 Bethany children in Mount Jerome cemetery. They died between 1923-49. Over one third died in a five year period, 1935-39 and nearly two-thirds between 1935-44. For further information on this subject see Church and State and the Bethany Home (History Ireland, 2010, attached below).

In October 1939 William S Berry, the Deputy Chief Medical Adviser in the Dept of Local Government and Public health, callously dismissed these deaths and signs of medical and nursing neglect discovered by his own inspectors. He observed that it was 'well known' that illegitimate children were 'delicate'. He called instead, as a means of defecting public concern, for the home to cease admitting Roman Catholics. Bethany Home was denied a discretionary maternity home grant until 1949. When the grant was given, deaths and serious illness appeared to taper away to nothing.

It can be argued, at the very least, that from the time the state covered up death and serious illness at the home, until centrally administered funding was made available, a 10-year period, the state's sectarian negligence resulted in severe sickness and death at the Bethany Home.

We have come a long road, but it is one in which obstacles to the truth have been put in our way, time and again.

Officials have said the Bethany Home was not eligible for inclusion in the schedule of redress for survivors of abuse, as it was a privately run mother and baby institution in which the state played no role. When corrected on this the story changed. In order to qualify for inclusion Bethany it was alleged that residents would have had to be sent to a home by a court. It was pointed out that while there were 50 institutions where this was the case, there were over 100 on the schedule where it was not the case. However, in any case, courts did send persons to the Bethany Home.

For 13 years Bethany survivor Derek Leinster tried to obtain Bethany Home records in the state's possession, but were denied them. After he obtained official documents in 2007 by other means, the HSE finally notified Education that Bethany Home residents did indeed qualify for redress. Education still said no. We were turned down again.

In Ireland's Magdalen Laundries and the Nation's Architecture of Containment (2007), Professor James Smith of Boston College noted that non-Catholic women were being sentenced in the Four Courts for Infanticide and given the option of serving their time in the Bethany Home. After that, Niall Meehan produced contemporary newspaper reports of other women sentenced for these and for lesser crimes sentenced to serve their time in Bethany.

In 2010 Meehan notified the Justice Dept that in 1945 Bethany's Managing Committee wrote to Justice to ask why a court sent a particular child to Bethany. More information was drip-fed. Justice revealed that the then Minister of Justice Mr Boland asked Dublin Church of Ireland Archbishop, Dr Barton, to nominate a place of detention for C of I females up to the age of 17 years. Barton chose Bethany Home.

Government officials would have been aware of these facts, but hid them until forced to reveal them. The Bethany Home is eminently qualified to be included in the Redress schedule. It is too late for the 219 Bethany children buried in unmarked graves, whose final resting spot in Mount Jerome Cemetery was discovered in 2010. It is not yet too late for those still living.

Why have Government officials denied non-Catholic children justice? There should be a public enquiry into this scandal.

The Government has paid out 1.2 billion mainly to Catholic survivors of abuse. The Irish Embassy in London is funded by the Irish Government to the tune of 800 million Euros to help survivors' groups. When Bethany survivors applied for funding, we were turned down. We also applied to Education for funding. Again we did not qualify. They went to great lengths in telling us how careful they were required to be in doling this money out, so careful they were giving us none. Recent media reports indicate that the state has thrown money unaccountably at this problem, trying to buy off its responsibility for running a dysfunctional sectarian health, education and welfare system. It is now 'solving' the problem in an equally sectarian manner, leaving non-Catholics outside the door.

We are appealing to all people in a position to influence justice in the Irish Society. Victims of non-Catholic abuse should be treated equally and no differently than had they been abused as Catholics.

The children of the nation were abused equally. Let those who survived now be treated equally.

Derek Leinster
Chairperson Bethany Survivors
42 Southey Road
Rugby CV22 6HF
Warwickshire
England

For further information:
New Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin speaks on Bethany Home
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/98808
Bethany Home Children’s Graves discovered
Former residents call for memorial - Wednesday 26th May, 12 noon, at MOUNT JEROME Cemetery
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/96739
From Wicklow to Wakefield - a victim of Protestant prejudice and state neglect
Derek Leinster survived to become a trade union convener, a father and a grandfather
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/92984

Former Bethany residents Derek Leinster, Patrick Anderson McQuoid and Noleen Belton at Mount Jerome memorial meeting at unmarked graves of 40 Bethany children who died in 1935-36. That figure has now increased to 48. In the background, retired Archdeacon,
Former Bethany residents Derek Leinster, Patrick Anderson McQuoid and Noleen Belton at Mount Jerome memorial meeting at unmarked graves of 40 Bethany children who died in 1935-36. That figure has now increased to 48. In the background, retired Archdeacon,

PDF Document History Ireland article Sept-Oct 2010 on Berthany Home - right-click and 'save' to download 1.57 Mb

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sat Mar 12, 2011 15:45Report this post to the editors


Just a couple of questions. If the Church of Ireland has a responsibility in the issue, should they not be the target?The catholic church dumped its responsibility(just like the speculators, banks, and colluding politicos)on the innocent taxpayer(in a non-sectarian manner). Scot free perpetrators and battallions of lawyers milking moolah all round. Or token raps on knuckles and back to business as usual.

And is not the church of Ireland affilliated to the church of england, of which lizzie windsor is pope?
Perhaps you should request an audience when she drops over for tea up the Aras? To discuss outstanding issues.

I'm not being flippant, I recognise the seriousness of these crimes. But I also think the payments should be brought home to the institutions that facilitated and covered up. Again, the best of luck with your campaigns.

author by Joe Little - RTEpublication date Tue Mar 15, 2011 09:14Report this post to the editors

Survivors of the Protestant-run Bethany Home have appealed to the Government to include them in the State redress scheme for abuse victims.

Survivors of the Protestant-run Bethany Home have appealed to the new Government to include them in the State redress scheme for victims of abuse in residential institutions.

Former Bethany resident Derek Leinster has written a letter to Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn.

Mr Leinster urged the Minister to review documentary evidence supplied to two of his predecessors of a cover-up of death and serious illness at the home from 1939 and 1949.

Mr Leinster was born in the home in 1941 and was fostered out to a destitute family in Wicklow at the age of four.

He helped to found a survivors' group last year when a supporter, college lecturer Niall Meehan, uncovered the unmarked graves.

The group's members say they suffered gross neglect in the home.

They are angry with successive Governments for excluding them from the scheme, despite Mr Leinster's 12-year campaign.

He told Mr Quinn he was grateful for the assistance of a number of his parliamentary party colleagues, including new Minister of State Kathleen Lynch, while they were in Opposition.

Bethany Home 1937 - during period when most children died - survivors claim death and serious illness were covered up
Bethany Home 1937 - during period when most children died - survivors claim death and serious illness were covered up

Related Link: http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0311/bethany.html
author by AndrewSB49publication date Sat May 07, 2011 20:29author email theknitter at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

The new Minister did speak strongly and very vociferously in the aftermath of the publication of the Ryan Report, which detailed the abuse of thousands of children in State-funded institutions managed by the Religious Orders. Let's hope he remembers that report and gives the survivors of the Bethany Homes justice ... long overdue in my opinion.

Related Link: http://www.derekleinster.com/
author by Florance Margret Codd - Self employedpublication date Sun Jun 05, 2011 22:37Report this post to the editors

I was in this hell hole, suffered much pain during my first 18 months of life. Life long lung problems due to lack of food and medicine-- 1948-1949
I want a letter tellingme your sorry-- Churches, really.. ashamed I would guess.

author by Niall Meehan - Bethany Survivors publication date Mon Jun 06, 2011 09:23author email derek.linster at talktalk dot netauthor address 42 Southey Road Rugby CV22 6HF Warwickshire Englandauthor phone 00 44 1788 817311Report this post to the editors

RTE 'Would You Believe' programme on children born in Bethany Home sent to Protestant evangelical orphanage, June 5, 2011

Mick Peelo investigates Adeline Mathers' management of the Westbank children's home in Co Wicklow between 1946 and 1999, following allegations from former residents.

WATCH programme here:

http://www.rte.ie/tv/wouldyoubelieve/av_index.html
(available in archive after next programme in series is broadcast)

See also article, Sunday Independent, 5 June 2011:
Claims of abuse shatter image of devout Auntie's big, happy family
Children raised in an evangelical orphanage are divided over allegations of beatings, writes Lynne Kelleher:

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/claims-of-abuse....html
also
http://www.paddydoyle.com/claims-of-abuse-shatter-image...mily/

Many of the formers residents interviewed, such as Colm Begly and his brother Andrew, were born in the Bethany Home. Few if any of the children resident were adopted. Those who remained were subject to starvation, physical and to sexual abuse.

Adeline Mathers, who ran the home, funded it through subventions from Free Presbyterian congregations, the Orange Order and other evangelical christian bodies and groups. She toured Methodist and Presbyterian congregations in Northern Ireland and advised women in 'trouble' to send their offspring to her in Greystones, Co Wicklow. At least one formerly prominent Free Presbyterian clergyman was involved in disciplining children in the home.

The Irish state, as with Bethany Home, abdicated its responsibility. It refused to do anything about physical abuse reported to the Health Board. It was part of the regulated sectarian welfare and health system run by the Irish state, in that the sectarianism, but not the welfare of residents, was regulated.

author by Niall Meehan - Bethany Survivors publication date Mon Jun 06, 2011 09:34Report this post to the editors

Dear Florance Margret Codd,

We would love to hear from you.

Niall Meehan
(use contact details above in comment above)

author by Niall Meehanpublication date Mon Jun 06, 2011 22:56Report this post to the editors

Dear Florance Margret (or FLORENCE MARGARET) Codd,

We would love to hear from you.

Niall Meehan
(use contact details two comments up or at top of this page)

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