The Shame of Ireland

The Shame of Ireland

The leadership of the Church of Ireland — and indeed all the Protestant churches — have many questions to answer.

They abandoned the notorious Bethany Home and others, from the foundation of the State in 1922 right up to the 1970s, and later too.

They abandoned the babies and children of all Protestant institutions when the Irish Government announced the 1999 Commission of Inquiry.

And where were our revered Protestant Church leaders in 2002 when the State brought in the Redress Act, 4.1 to give Catholic survivors a fast-track to redress rather than going through the courts?

Our esteemed leadership!

Missing in action again and again.

They turned a blind eye to the horrors of the institutions like Bethany and Westbank back in the ‘good old days’ and deserted us in modern times when we needed them.

They did not search for the lost sheep of their flock — we were forsaken and cast to the wolves.

When the new Church of Ireland Archbishop Michael Jackson was interviewed by Joe Little for RTÉ, he said we were on his list and his second priority was to get justice for the survivors of the infamous Bethany Home.

I am glad we were not last on his list.

The Church of Ireland allowed the Government to treat the Bethany Home survivors differently in 1999 and again in 2002 and their indifference and cold shoulders push us aside to this very day.

It is time for our Church leaders to remember they are followers of Christ.

The same Christ who, with love in his heart, actively sought out the vulnerable, the needy, the sick, and all those in need of his help.

He healed and helped and comforted.

What do our Protestant leaders do? They have never sought out the Bethany survivors.

They are still missing in action.

Perhaps it is time, on the anniversary of the 1916 Uprising, for all Protestants in the Irish Republic to have their own rebellion.

It is time for all of us to stand up and demand better. Actions speak louder than words and it is time for action.

The archbishops, bishops, and vicars have a duty of care to us and we must demand they practice what they preach.

There are only a handful of Bethany survivors left alive and we will soon be joining the 227 of our brothers and sisters who lay forgotten in Mount Jerome cemetery until we, the living survivors, erected our memorial in 2014 with all their names carved in stone for ever more.

Our fallen crib mates saw no justice in their short lifetimes. Will any of us left alive see justice in this life?

Derek Leinster
Bethany Home Survivors ’98 group
42 Southey Rd


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