The Shame of Ireland
More Irish church abuse victims. The Forgotten Victims, like the Magdalenes these victims have been completely ignored by the State who seem to have handed the most innocent of children onto Religious groups unaccountable to the law.
Justice for all the forgotten victims
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A group representing former residents at the home today repeated its call for an inquiry into activities at the institution and called on the Government to include its members under the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme. A total of 219 unmarked graves containing the remains of children who were residents at the home between 1922 and 1949, have now been found. The Bethany mother and baby home was run by evangelical members of the Church of Ireland but had no formal connection with that church. It operated at Blackhall Place in Dublin from 1921-34 and at Orwell Road, Rathgar, until it closed in 1972. It was also a place of detention for women convicted of petty theft, prostitution, infanticide and birth concealment.
Derek Leinster of the Bethany House Survivors Group, who was born at the Orwell Road house in 1941 and now lives in Rugby, Warwickshire said today he believed former residents had been excluded from the redress scheme because they were a minority grouping. Mr Leinster said plans are afoot to establish a memorial to children who died at the Bethany homes. The Department of Education has previously said that children were admitted to Bethany on a voluntary basis and therefore do not qualify for the redress scheme for survivors of institutional abuse. However, a letter sent on behalf of Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern to Mr Meehan confirms the institution was designated as a place of detention in 1945.
BBC News - More unmarked babies graves found at Bethany Home
It came to public attention last year when 219 unmarked graves of children born there were discovered in Mount Jerome Cemetery. Derek Leinster, who was born at Bethany in 1941 and who has been campaigning for compensation for the past 14 years, said he would not tolerate any more stalling by the Government as time was running out.
Minister for Justice and Equality
Department of Justice and Equality
72-76 St. Stephen's Green
14th September 2011
Re: Mandate for Inter-Departmental Committee on the Magdalene Laundries
A Áire, a chara,
I commend you for establishing the Inter-Department al Committee on the Magdalene Laundries and I wish the committee well in its investigations.
I am disappointed however that Bethany Home is excluded.
Bethany Home was run by an independent protestant group as an evangelical institution for unmarried mothers and their children. It also took in prostitutes, alcoholics, and young people under 17. Women and young people convicted in the courts were also sent there.
Thus far it has been estimated that 219 children died between 1922 when the Home opened and 1949. They were buried in unmarked graves. Some died from marasumus – a form of malnutrition.
In 1939 reports from St. Ultan’s and the Coombe Hospitals revealed that children from Bethany suffered from a range of medical problems including, rickets, scalding, whooping coughs and conjunctivitis.
The failure of the Irish state to properly monitor and manage conditions in Bethany was exposed in reports by the then Deputy Chief Medical Adviser. He explained away neglect criticised by his own inspectors and higher than average mortality by claiming that ‘it is well recognised that a large number of illegitimate children are delicate ... ‘
Another aspect of Bethany’s function was the export of children to similar organisations in England, including Barnardo’s; the Salvation Army and Fegan’s Homes for Boys. From these and from Catholic organisations many children were then transferred on to colonies of the British Empire.
The Irish state knew that Irish children were being sent overseas but did not interfere. The Irish state also knew that large numbers of children were dying from preventable diseases and neglect and abuse but did nothing.
It is unacceptable to the survivors and to all those seeking truth and closure surrounding abuse in institutions that Bethany Home is excluded from the list of ten institutions currently included in the mandate of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Magdalene Laundries.
Whatever the financial constraints there is an onus on the government to compensate the victims of Bethany Home and to apologise and express publicly its regret at what occurred.
At a time when the government has made child protection a major priority and is challenging the failings of the Catholic Church in this respect, it is appropriate that the issue of Bethany Home is properly dealt with.
I would ask that you give this your urgent attention and agree to extend the Committee’s remit to include Bethany Home. I look forward to hearing from you.
Is mise le meas, Gerry Adams TD
Bethany Home story to be brought to big screen
It was the film that put the plight of the abuse suffered by former residents of the infamous Magdalene Laundries into the public eye.
Now a filmmaker is hoping her latest project on the lesser-known Bethany Home will emulate the success of 2002 movie The Magdalene Sisters and help its survivors in their quest for justice.
The movie will tell the life story and include the decades-long battle of one of the few remaining survivors of the Protestant-run former institution for unmarried mothers to receive compensation.
Former residents of the Bethany Home, from where the bodies of 28 children who died are still unaccounted for, have never been financially compensated, as they were excluded from the recently-closed Redress Scheme.
But survivors argue that the levels of neglect and abuse at the centre - which hit the headlines in 2010 after 219 unmarked graves of former child residents were discovered - were on a par with those of the many Catholic-run institutions which qualified for redress.
And they claim they have been continually snubbed simply because they were Protestant.
But former resident Derek Leinster, who will be the main subject of the biographical movie which will chronicle his early childhood and long-running campaign for justice, says he hopes the film will finally shame the Government into action.
Italian filmmaker Eleonora Volpe said she felt inspired to make a movie about Bethany, having read the book Hannah's Shame, which chronicles 70-year-old Mr. Leinster's life story, including his 20-year search for his birth mother, Hannah.
The Drogheda, Co. Louth-based director has since sent a proposal to the Irish Fim Board in the hope of securing funds for the project and is working on developing a script.
Ms. Volpe, who has been invloved in film and documentary production since 1985, said she believes the movie, which she plans to film in Co. Wicklow as early as next summer, has the potential for global success, as it contains such "a powerful story".
She said: "Derek Leinster will be the central character in the film and once we've got the funding and start filming, I plan to use five or six actors to portray him at different ages.
"It's an inspiring story and one of great resilience. I'd hope the film would help Mr. Leinster and the other survivors get the publicity they need to help them in their fight. But I'd be even happier if they got justice even sooner and I'd be able to give the movie a happy ending."
Mr. Leinster, who's based in Warkwickshire in Britain, said: "I'm never going to give up in the quest for justice and the film will add a lot of awareness and help make things happen for us. The world needs to know that it wasn't just the Catholics in Ireland who suffered."
Bethany survivors suffered a number of setbacks in their fight for compensation last year - most recently when their demands to be included in a new investigation - set up to examine the State's involvement in the Magdalene Laundries - were turned down in October by the Irish Government.
Mr. Leinster has since vowed to take the case to the United Nations.
Source - http://www.irishpost.ie/index.php/component/content/article/5-stori...