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Survivor of Southside Mother and Baby Home blasts Minister

A SURVIVOR of a South Dublin Mother and Baby Home has blasted a consultation service for survivors as a “gimmick.”

Last month Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman launched a Consultation Process on the development of a ‘Restorative Recognition Scheme’ for survivors of Mother and Baby Homes.

Encouraging former residents to “make their views known in relation to the design of the scheme,” the Minister said the findings of the Consultation Process “will play an important role in informing the development of the Restorative Recognition Scheme.”

Derek Leinster, who grew up in the Protestant Bethany Home in Rathgar, however refused to take part in this latest process.

He was booked in to attend an Online Consultation Meeting on Wednesday March 24.

Despite years of campaigning to get the government to extend the same redress offered to survivors of abuse at Catholic institutions, the Bethany survivors have still not received any redress.

“Once I had time to think about it I came to the conclusion that it is just another gimmick from the Minister to waste more time,” Derek told Southside People.

“They want to make sure that there will be no living Bethany Home Survivors alive to see justice or redress and they want us to help them do it.

“I cannot be part of this madness.

“I did not go along with any of Minister Zappone’s stunts either.

“If Minister O’Gorman was serious this would all have been ready sorted out when the Mother and Baby Commision Report came out on January 12 2021.

“We need a fast track to get redress now, no more gimmicks!”

Derek says that the neglect he suffered at the Rathgar based home resulted in a lifetime of underlying health issues.

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes found that a total of 262 children associated with the Bethany Home in Dublin died, with most of these deaths occurring between 1937 and 1947.

Now aged 79, Derek is adamant that survivors of Bethany and other Protestant homes should be included in any redress scheme.

Having founded The Bethany Home Survivors’ Group ’98, Derek has gone on record many times in the past two decades to share the horrifying story about the home where children died of malnutrition, heart failure and disease and how the unmarked graves of more than 300 children were discovered in Mount Jerome cemetery.

“We are still fighting the good fight and are making progress,” Derek said.

“We are just looking for what other people got during the 2002 redress in terms of compensation for survivors of mother-and-baby homes.

“Everyone knows survivors of Bethany Home should have been included.

“Ms Justice Yvonne Murphy said in 2017 that the Bethany Home should have been included, and she said the same thing last year.

“I have been proven right at every turn, there are death certificates from Bethany Home and other Protestant homes that have yet to feature in any report.

“I know how badly the children at Bethany were treated as I suffered four horrific diseases, Bronchial Pneumonia, Diptheria, Pertussis and Enteritis, while I was there myself.

“I have been on medication for all my life because of this.

“There aren’t many Bethany Home survivors left still living to make a case.

“The longer this drags on then the better chance there is that everyone will be gone.

“We have to stop the State thinking that we are up for their games.

“For me the games are long over, I will not be part of any of their games anymore.”

Southside People contacted Minister O’ Gorman but had not received a reply at the time of going to press.

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