Why are non Irish born citizen survivors more important than Irish born citizens like the survivors of the notorious Protestant Bethany Home?
Whenever I approached the Office of the President of Ireland, I was always told by the staff that this was not part of the remit of the Presidential office. And yet President Higgins feels very concerned about the international refugee crisis and rightly speaks out loudly about their plight.
But as a Protestant survivor of the Bethany Home, what happened to me and many others occurred in the Irish jurisdiction. What happened at that infamous Home was down to the Irish State and they could not nor cannot blame anyone else. The buck stops with the Irish State, Full Stop! Is this not more Irish hypocrisy and shame?
They did not want any part of the Bethany Home Memorial erected in April 2014 for 227 babies and children who lost their precious lives there. Yes we should help these poor refugees but we should not use these poor people just so we look good at home and abroad.
Mr President, you could have helped your own people too. The Bethany survivors have been waiting for over 23 years. We note the contrast between the office of the Lord Mayor of Dublin City who made sure that they did all that could be done for the Protestant Bethany Home.
The Lord Mayor stepped up to attend the unveiling of the Bethany Memorial and further attend our annual commemoration, to pay their respect to those innocent lives so cruelly neglected to death - 227 Irish Citizens least we forget.
I hope that one day Mr President, you and your office will feel the same concern for those Irish babies and children and survivors; that you will make sure the media know about it when you visit as well as your concern about international refugees who are also suffering.
The Bethany case is the responsibility of the Irish State and no one else’s. We were second class citizens back in the ‘good old days’ of holy Catholic Ireland and we remain ignored and relegated to second class citizenship in 2016 on the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Uprising.
President Higgins, I look forward to you and the State doing it’s honourable duty to citizens of the Irish State when you and your office pay your respects to the Bethany Home dead and it’s survivors. We want justice now while the last handful of us are still alive to hear a long overdue apology.
Derek Linster, Survivor and founder of the Bethany Home Survivors ‘98 group