Bethany home survivor in plea to Protestant churches

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

The leadership of the Protestant churches of Ireland have to finally accept their historic responsibility as their counterparts in the Catholic Church have recently done in Scotland.

Not simply to apologise for the inhuman “care” they provided in the Bethany Home in Dublin and many others, from the foundation of the state in 1922, but to apologise to the survivors and to more than 227 children who did not survive that shameful hell and who lay forgotten in Mount Jerome Cemetery for generations until the Bethany Survivors erected our Memorial to them in 2014.

There is no use in blaming other people such as the inspectors or the government – who were also responsible – when it was clergymen themselves who were there and watched the babies and children dieing before their eyes every day.

These were crimes against Irish children in Ireland by the state of Ireland and there was no humanity shown to us by our very own state or our church.

They must stop hiding now!

They have a scared duty to the survivors, to Ireland and to God, to immediately get in touch with Minister James Reilly and to work in good faith to get justice now!

The same clergymen baptised me and signed my illegal adoption papers. I was in the parish of Dugganstown, Co Wicklow and those same clergy also witnessed my wretched and impoverished state on a daily basis.

The most I ever received was a smile as they went about their business. I still question to this day ‘what business’? Was I not as important to them as the ‘Third World’ collections I witnessed gathered every Sunday in church?

These same clergy must now be seen openly doing the right thing for the survivors and must be transparent in every way.

No more betrayal. No more secret deals behind closed doors please.

Derek Linster (a Survivor of the Bethany Home, Rathgar, Dublin)

Rugby, Warwickshire