Friday 22 March 2019

'These children deserved better' - mother and baby home survivor urges gardai to investigate

Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

A survivor of the Bethany mother and baby home has said he will report the institution to the gardai as he says "the children who died there deserved better."

Derek Leinster was born in the Dublin institution in 1941 to an unwed mother, he suffered mentally and physically and at one point nearly died after he was hospitalised with Bronchial Pneumonia, Diptheria, Pertussis, Enteritis.

Mr Leinster (77) was adopted when he was four but still has some medical problems which are linked to his time in the Bethany Home.

He is the founder of the Bethany Home Survivors Group and is determined to get justice for those who were abused at the institute, which was run by a committee of Protestant clergy and laypeople.

Mr Leinster, who now lives in Warwickshire in the UK, told "I have thought about it long and hard but I have reported the Bethany Home to the gardai, it's a huge crime scene.

"These children were supposed to be protected and cared for but they weren't, instead they were starved ad abused.

Derek Leinster (right). Picture: Gerry Mooney
Derek Leinster (right). Picture: Gerry Mooney

"Someone should be held to account over this, those children deserved better."

Mr Leinster said he contacted gardai last week with evidence he has collected over the years about the Bethany Home and he said he feels it's never too late to report what happened.

"I think the gardai should be investigating this, those who ran these homes should be exposed and this cannot continue to be brushed under the carpet.

"I'm not going to let people forget about this because those children mattered, they had rights.

"People have been put on trial for crimes committed during World War Two, time shouldn't be a barrier to the truth - gross crimes were committed against children," he added.

He continued to say: "Children were beaten, starved, uncared for, who knows what else went on?
"The State and the Church ignored the rights of children whose only 'crime' was being born out of wedlock."

A garda spokesman told that he could not comment on a case involving named individuals.

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