Last Updated 31/08/2014


With reference to our telephone conversation today, I am very grateful for your agreement to inspect my main points.

Personal History

I was born in the Bethany Home Rathgar, Dublin 6, my mother 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 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 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 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.

Derek. Linster

Yours sincerely,




Dear Archbishop,

Thank you very much for your email letter, in particular for your statement that “It is right that any complaint made by such victims should be investigated”.

In that regard I will be calling on the heads of Protestant churches to support my demand that the Bethany Home be placed within the Irish government’s redress scheme, that the home be investigated, and that abused residents be eligible for compensation.

May I take it that you will be the first to support me in that call?

It will give the demand a tremendous lift, would be a signal of support, and would undoubtedly be picked up by the newspapers. When he presided at the opening o the Home in 1922, your predecessor, Archbishop Gregg, termed Bethany an ‘open door’ for ‘fallen’ women. You could reverse the stigma of that appellation by creating an open door for risen victims of abuse.

With regard to the Bethany Home itself, can you:
• Give me the names of those who were members of the Trust concerned with running Bethany?
• Tell me if any Church of Ireland clergy were involved (if you are aware)?
Archbishop Gregg, wrote in the Irish Times in 1939 that Bethany Home was managed by an “interdenominational committee”.
• Are there references to this Committee in Church archives or in other documentation?
• Who would be the best person to speak to further on this and do you have their contact details?

Finally, due to the confusion surrounding my fostering (unresolved to this day), I was told that my family name was ‘Linster’ at age 18. I subsequently found out that that should be ‘Leinster’ (as in the province) with an ‘e’, though my relations on my mother’s side hail from Ulster, County Cavan. It’s all a bit Irish, just like me. So ‘Leinster’ if you please (despite my email address), but you can call me Derek.

Yours sincerely,
Derek Leinster



Dear Dr Pilkington,

Thank you very much for your email. I followed up with a letter to the Protestant church heads this week (below - see also attached Archbishop Neill correspondence). Unfortunately, not having much luck with the Irish Times again, and neither is David Norris (sent them letter, also below, asking why). Maybe if The Guardian do another article, the IT might feel the need to do one again.

Last Wednesday in the Dail Joe Costello from the Labour Party and Caoimhin O Caolain from Sinn Fein mentioned the  Bethany Home - no coverage.

Anything at all you might be able to do to publicise the issue would be very much appreciated - I have no problem if you want to send on the material below to anyone who might be interested.


Lionel Pilkington
derek linster

Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 6:21 AM
Re: Letter to Protestant Church Heads - from Derek Leinster BETHANY HOME abuse victim

Dear Derek,

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.

Best wishes,

Dr Lionel Pilkington
Senior Lecturer in English
NUI, Galway



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