Last Updated 31/08/2014
With reference to our telephone conversation today, I am very grateful for your agreement to inspect my main points.
I was born in the Bethany Home Rathgar, Dublin 6, my mother abandoned me when I was four and half months old, leaving me in the home.
At the age of 7 months I was nursed out to a Mrs. Traynor, who I remained with until I was approximately 2.5 years old, I then returned to Bethany.
At the age of 3, I became violently ill with Bronchial Pneumonia, Diphtheria, Pertussis and Gastro Enteritis, I was admitted to the Cork Street Isolation Hospital, Dublin, I remained there for 4.5 months, after which I again returned to Bethany.
After the above events, at the age of 3years & ten months , I was 'adopted' by a defunked Protestant family in Dunganstown, Co. Wicklow.
I would wish to offer two main points for consideration
The Secret Indemnity Agreement - (Click here for the signatures file)
Please also see RTE - Prime Time broadcast The Home the State Forgot'
I didn't know that the Education Minister Michael Woods had entered into a secret deal, with 18 Catholic Religious Orders, covering an indemnity. No Protestants included.
Minister Woods did not have Protestant Homes in mind, when he was dealing with this, it was only Catholics Homes that he covered and sealed. It stopped Protestants - Bethany Home from ever going on the list of homes. Minister Hannifin in her time, made sure that the Bethany Home was never going on and was never on her radar, she also made the rules up as she went along, all of this can be proved with the FOI documents (2012).
As per the RTE broadcast-
"The indemnity agreement, and the redress agreement, that was brought out at the time, was effectively a pact between the State, and the religious orders, the 18 religious orders. That any cases and any legal actions brought against the religious orders, relating to child abuse, would be covered by the State"
"Clearly, if they [Bethany] didn't have the opportunity to lobby, or the influence to lobby, i.e. through a financial contribution, then they didn't have the same sort of influence, - as others who did".
In relation to this point, St Patrick's Mother and Baby Home was added to the Schedule in 2004, it was the largest M+B Home in Ireland, due to it being a Catholic institution, it was covered due to the secret indemnity deal.
Actions of the State
Yes, I do understand that courts cannot interfere in the political function in a Minister's department, and I understand the Minister may do as he/she wishes. But, my understanding is that he cannot treat one religious group differently than another. I have always been told by the State that Bethany was a privately run mother and baby home. I have the documentation to prove that it was not, the documents prove that State had a regulatory and inspection role in Bethany.
Bethany was also a maternity home, an orphanage, children's home and a dentition center.
If Irish courts were to permit this injustice, I understand that the international courts would not. In particular the court of Europe which I understand Ireland signed up for in 2003
Again, as per the RTE broadcast:
"If we take the Redress Board Act, abuse is defined in that piece of legislation, as a failure to care properly for children, which failure to care results in some injury to them, or some emotional suffering to them.
There was serious neglect of children at Bethany Home, and that is also documented, so I cannot see why it would not come under the terms of the RIRA 2002. When you consider the specific wording in that Redress Act, in relation to the kind of institutions that they were supposed to be concerned with".
After 15 years of campaigning, to date I have been unable to obtain justice, due to Solicitors, who have constantly advised me to seek the political solution, and for the foreseeable future continue to give the same advice. This solution is not leading to a satisfactory conclusion, therefore I can no longer follow such advice. I have been unable to legally challenge the absurd and irrational prejudice to a minority non-Catholic in Ireland.
Dear Dr Pilkington,
Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 6:21 AM
Re: Letter to Protestant Church Heads - from Derek Leinster BETHANY HOME abuse victim
I fully support your call for Bethany House to be placed within the terms of reference of the Irish government’s redress and compensation scheme and your call that all abuses that took place in that institution be fully and thoroughly investigated.
Dr Lionel Pilkington
Senior Lecturer in English