The Shame of Ireland

The Shame of Ireland

Quest for Justice for Survivors from Bethany Homes, Ireland

Some formatting etc may be lost, the original is here

Derek Leinster has done a massive amount to bring attention to the Bethany Homes.

The problem he has had is that Bethany Homes was Protestant mother and baby home in a Catholic Country with a Government and Church which disgracefully wanted to distance themselves from almost any responsibility whatsoever.

The 2015 Baby & Mother Commission is the first time that Protestants will have been included in any of the Irish State Inquiry’s, in the history of the state. All the 6 state Inquiries since 1970 included only Catholic Homes and Institutions.

Derek has written two books on his childhood to bring attention to the plight of survivors in  Bethany Homes

2005 Derek Leinster  Hannah’s Shame: True Life Story [4] 

2008 Derek Leinster – Destiny Unknown [3]

The government has always tried to say that the Bethany Home was a private B & M home and did not come under the state redress scheme. The redress scheme was originally designed to compensate victims with least fuss.

Various excuses have been made. The said there were no records – this was proved wrong It took Derek 14 years to get his records. They said it was not regulated by the state  – this was proved wrong, they said it was a mother and baby home and not covered yet other mother and baby homes were included under the redress scheme.

The difference was the Indemnity Agreement –  18 religious orders paid into the redress scheme and were given indemnity, with the government picking up all future abuse claims – but full details about the amounts paid in and out are opaque.  This scheme seems to be in favour of the religious institutions and what happened to the children and institutions who did not have a religious lobby?

The survivors have had to fight every step of the way after suffering abuse whilst under the care of the state. Shameful. There was neglect and the state knew about it.

This programme from RTE outlined the problems. HT to D from Operation Greenlight database [6] for video

2013 May 13 Broadcast RTE News Prime Time Needleblog Video Channel RTE Bethany – The home the State forgot [2] 


In 2016 Derek Leinster was forced to go to the European Court of Human Rights, 23 years after he first started campaigning for recognition. As he has not been able to get the protection of the Irish Courts, he hopes EHCR will set out where the Irish State is wrong. The case is still ongoing.

Bethany Homes also exported children to Fegans Homes for boys. One was in England at Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire, now near Milton Keynes, which further exported the children to work on farms in Canada. Child migration so that the children could be used as slave labour.

227 children and babies from Bethany Home in unmarked pauper graves in Mount Jemore whose lives were cut short.

Derek also passed on these personal records he has now managed to obtain, including finding out he was illegally adopted [See Appendix 1]

There are also emails, which show how reluctant the authorities were to release anything [see Appendix 3] [HT to Daedulus for redaction]

My apologies that for several reasons the article does not do proper justice to how hard Derek has worked to expose the abuse at Bethany Homes, how bad the abuse was and the subsequent unfairness that they faced in trying to bring attention to the abuse. However it was better to get something published than wait longer.

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Appendix 3




Appendix 4

The Bethany Home  Case

  1 start in 1993  & set  this  Group up  19 88  The Bethany Survivors Group 98
We are  the old’s  & are the only  one to have the Foi Recourds  & not  just  hear say   as Chruch of Ireland   we  are   just 1%   & what has happen  to   us over the last  17 years  could not happen in any  State  in UK  or European  Country
Irish Minister For Education was also  part of the 2002 Redress  ,  but  they never understood , the 2002 Redress Act 4 1. or any of the the 1908 Act’s that was  for the protection of  , Children  or there  act’s & Just went along with  what even a  Snr  Civil Servants put to them & was not strong enough   to do the right thing  , it  was no good    , one saying that there home  had  come under  the  1908 act. , we had to prove it  ,  not  with hear say , but with the Foi Doc.s
         The State set up  the 1999  Commission
          The  State up the    2002  Act 4  1, Redress
        The Irish State has had 6 Enquiry  since 19 70   , But they only  cover Catholic Home’s & Institution
         The 2015  Baby & Mother Commission is the  first  time  that Protestant  will have  been included in  any   of the Irish State  enquiry ‘s , in the history of the  State
it was a  fast track way to give justice to survivors that going to court could not get
 A  Home or Institution a to get on the list of , Homes it would have to come under  , A State  Inspection  A Children  Home  A Place Of Education  Or  Be Regulated   By the State
The Bethany  Home  did ,
New  Minister’s &  new  groups &  new  Survivors  , never  got up to speed on this they  should
    No   Survivors  can  win this in any ,  Court   unless   they come under  the 2002 redress
But   when  you have been on this   for over 17  years   you  get it &  now     the  , Legal teams  are getting it
           I have all way’s   just want   the  2002 redress  act,  that was given  to all of the others  130 odd homes & institution  that  got it , with out  having the  right  paper work
         But Snr  Civil Servants have all ways  said that there was  no records , they can not say that any more as i have   got the right  paper work , & that  is what make’s the   Protestant Bethany Home  Differenly  , it is  not just  hear say ,
   We only want what  others  have got  with out proof  that  we have got & not just  hear say
   227 Baby & Chrildren   in Un Mark Paupe Graves in Mount Jemore
 The Government has all way’s  want   to ,call the Bethany Home , a  B& M. Home  & have all way’s  said  that it was a  Privately run   Protestant  home & did not come  under the State ,
it took me  14 years  to get the records that they said   did not exist  , that prove   that the Bethany Home was a Maternity  Hop’s  Baby & Mother Home   a Chrildren  Home A Jail  a   Place of Detention  for people under 17 years .   No Home that  went on the list  of homes for Redress in 2002  was  covered    by all of  1908 act as the Bethany Home was. It wasnt about the name of a home it was always about what was set out by the government. The criteria to qualify to be on the list of homes the home had to be educational, a place of looking after children,or inspected by the state , under the 1908 act or regulated by the state.  the Protestant Bethany  was
We now have documents that the State said didn’t exist, to  qualify for the 2002 Redress, state inspections were carried out, and also for nursed out children came under the state inspection. It was also regulated by the state and  i was one of them ,  we have sent  the State the documents over the years. They may tell you it was not to do with being Catholic but you can see Mary Lou (sinn Fein TD) making historical speeches in the Dail, that it was sectarian. Joe Costell (TD for Labour) who also was on our  case and who was on it since 2002 and a few others who all knew that it was outrageous that the Bethany Home was not included.
There is no good the Government saying it wasn’t to do with being Protestant, there was no home went on the Redress who was as qualified to go on as the Bethany Home. You would have a job to find 3 TD’s in the Dail who were Protestants. No minority group of less than 1% of the population could be treated like the Bethany Home has been treated in the last 17years, in any country in Europe or UK. That is why a Solicitor and 2 Barristers have made a submission on my behalf to take my case to the ECHR, so the Government can say what it wants and they can call the Bethany Home what they want, but what they cannot do anymore say there were no records, and cannot say they didn’t treat the Bethany Home differently as i have the documents to prove what i am saying. No one must forget here is that the 2002 Redress act 4.1 is what the state set out for all homes and institutions had to comply with, there are a good many homes that didn’t, but ours did thats what the argument is.  The Church of Ireland also  can not say it is  not  me Gov there The Church of Ireland  Archbishop of Dublin   open  it  in  1922 & there  Clergy ,  was on  the  committee that ran the  it ,   There  Archbishop also  done a   deal with  the then   Minister   Boland in 19 45    to  have  the Bethany Home   a Detention  centre   for  people unded 17   years , but the same people are now saying now the Bethany Home is just a name , Sorry to  people like us it is a lot  more , & when  you see the  Memorial  for  227  Chrildren  in  un mark pauper  graves

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. These links are generally UK based.

  • The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.
  • National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups.
  • One in Four [C]
  • Havoca [D].
  • Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.
  • Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.
  • Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma  [J]
  • Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
  • Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area
  • A Prescription for me blog Various emotional support links [M]
  • ShatterBoys -“Male Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse Inspiring change, Through Shared Experience Whilst Building Connections…Together We Can Heal” [N]


[1] 2016 Aug 1 Irish Journal  Bethany Home survivor takes first step in bringing case to human rights court

[2] 2013 May 13 Broadcast RTE News Prime Time
Needleblog Video Channel RTE Bethany – The home the State forgot

[3] 2008 Dec 1 Amazon Derek Leinster – Destiny Unknown Paperback – 1 Dec 2008

[4] 2005 Sep 30 Amazon Derek Leinster  Hannah’s Shame: True Life Story Paperback – 30 Sep 2005

[5] Derek Leinster website

[6] Operation Greenlight database

Views: 90

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of The Shame of Ireland to add comments!

Join The Shame of Ireland


Rob Northall created this Ning Network.


Birthdays Today

Birthdays Tomorrow


This is a Private Site

Membership is drawn from Survivors of the Irish Industrial School System their Family and Friends. Survivors of the Magdalene Laundries their Families and Friends are welcome too!

Others can follow on Twitter by Clicking the Button Bellow

Follow ShameOfIreland on Twitter

 Follow on FACE BOOK by Clicking <HERE>

Please Like this FACE BOOK Page?


  • Add Photos
  • View All



© 2022   Created by Rob Northall.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service