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Bethany Home survivor taking case to European court


Derek Leinster (right).  Picture: Gerry Mooney

Derek Leinster (right). Picture: Gerry Mooney

Derek Leinster (right). Picture: Gerry Mooney

A Bethany Home survivor is taking a case to the European Court of Human Rights over his treatment at the mother and baby home.

Derek Leinster was born at the home in Rathgar, Dublin and has campaigned since 1998 for abuse victims who suffered there. Mr Leinster said taking the case to Strasbourg was one of the biggest undertakings the Bethany survivors had faced.

"I've been planning this for 17 years," he said, adding that the remaining Bethany survivors were now "well into their 70s and 80s".

"I've had solicitors telling me what a great case I have, but none have offered me anything more than their sympathy. I don't need or want their sympathy. I want action."

Bethany Home was a privately- run residential institution mainly for women of the Protestant faith.

Women placed in the home were often pregnant out of wedlock or had been convicted of prostitution, petty theft or infanticide.

Mr Leinster was born in the home and said he was "left to rot" there before leaving at the age of four.

"Most people would get a doctor or call an ambulance when they see someone so ill, but they didn't," he said. "I was just left isolated."

He eventually left the home at the age of four, but says the physical effects of his illnesses still dominate his daily life.

Some 227 children were buried in unmarked graves in the nearby Mount Jerome cemetery in Harold's Cross.

Mr Leinster also raised questions about the treatment of Protestant victims of institutional abuse, saying they had been ignored during State inquiries into Catholic mother and baby homes. The State commission of investigation into institutions such as Bethany Home was last week granted an extension to its time frame to publish its findings.

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