We survivors of Bethany homes are almost extinct
Last week I flew from the UK with my family to attend the unveiling of the new Bethany Mother and Baby Home memorial in Dublin.
Over 71 names were added to the 222, already on the headstone, of those who died as infants and babies and children.
It was a bittersweet event. We honoured our fallen brothers and sisters who died many years ago, but there were gaps in our numbers. Living survivors who stood beside us only a few short years ago, have passed away.
We few Protestant survivors are almost extinct; this is what the state and Protestant churches want. Of course, the archbishops and hierarchy will claim otherwise, but actions speak louder than words.
They have done little to help us and have never helped with a good heart. Every scrap from their table has been hard fought for by survivors.
The last letter, a full six years ago, was ignored and no amount of letters will help.
Letters and forced half-hearted words are of no use to the last survivors. What we need is to see the archbishops and the princes of the Protestant churches truly fight for the last handful of survivors.
Our Protestant leadership needs to collectively call on the government to stop treating Protestants as though they are not Irish: to stop denying until we are dead.
They need to call for justice — from their pulpits and on the streets! From the highest spires in the land! And not just once, but daily!
They need to issue media statements stating that the survivors of the Bethany Home have been fighting for 20 years and denied justice for over 7,300 days.
If the archbishops and hierarchy were to do this, it would all be over very soon.
We have had polite tea and biscuits a few times and very nice they were too. But now that we are passing away slowly, survivor by survivor it would not matter if we had a 1,000 people for tea: it would change nothing.
The archbishops and hierarchy must seek the Lord and look into their hearts. They must stand shoulder to shoulder with us.
That way we will win our battle for justice.
If they do not act now, it will soon be too late and the shame will stay on their souls and on their churches for evermore.
Archbishops we need your help and we need it now please. “I have a dream this will be no more, I have a dream.”
Derek Linster, Rugby