Wednesday 12 December 2018

'It's important we do this for them' - over 70 names to be added to Protestant mother and baby home memorial

Rachel Farrell

A new headstone will be erected for 72 people who died in Protestant mother and baby homes this week in Dublin.

It will mark the deaths of 71 children and one mother that died in the Bethany Home as well as four newly found mother and baby homes- Smyly Home, Miss Carrs, Magdalene Asylum and Irish Church Missions, according to founder of the Bethany Home Survivors Group Derek Leinster. 

The headstone is being erected by the Bethany Home Survivors Group and will join the existing 227 names on the current memorial in Mount Jerome cemetery.  

"I was born in the Bethany Home in Rathgar. I'm trying to get justice for those that died there before it's too late," Leinster told

"I started this campaign in 1998 to get redress for the Protestant survivors. Many people see it only as a Catholic issue."

Born in the Bethany Home in 1941, Leinster moved to the UK at the age of 18 to start a new life for himself after spending his early teenage years in a foster home in Ireland.

Leinster says he has been researching the Protestant mother and baby homes for almost all his life, and only recently came across the four new-found homes.

"I got information in 2007 which made me believe there had to be more deaths in the Bethany Home. I was doing all this research from England when we found this load of children and the four new Protestant homes that have never been researched.

"Most of the survivors are now dead or have dementia, so it's important we do this for them."

The memorial will take place this Friday June 29 at 4pm in Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin. A white dove will be released during the ceremony to "symbolise the souls of the innocent freed from the injustice of the world" and a bagpiper will lead supporters to the new memorial. 

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