219 children in an unmarked grave

The Protestants were in on the “imprison the children” routine too. That’s nice. Very ecumenical, very interfaith.

Abuse survivors of the Protestant Bethany Home care institution are to accuse the State of being complicit in the manslaughter of 63 children at the home when they meet Justice Minister Alan Shatter on Tuesday.

The manslaughter charge now being made by the Protestant survivors represents a major escalation in their battle with the Government for inclusion in the State’s redress scheme for abuse victims.

Bethany Home was a Protestant evangelical institution for unmarried mothers to give birth, before being forced to abandon their children, and was a place of detention for Protestant women on remand, or convicted of crimes from petty theft up to infanticide.

In 2010 it was discovered that 219 Bethany children were buried in unmarked graves in Mount Jerome Cemetery.

The usual. Neglect, indifference, neglect.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act include inspection reports from the time that now reveal the appalling conditions children at the Bethany Home were in. Survivors had been told back in 2000 by the Departments of Health and Education that documents relating to the abuse suffered by victims at the Bethany Home didn’t exist.

However, on foot of pressure from the survivors, documents have since emerged which reveal how reports were censored in the Forties to prevent some of the more damning findings from emerging.

It has been established how a report was altered to remove mention of a child that was dying. “This baby appeared to me to be in a dying condition. As I knew the baby was suffering I had the dispensary doctor telephoned to ask him to call to see the child,” it had said.

The documents show how the reference to dying was amended later by an official to read: “The baby appeared to me in a very low condition. It was dirty and neglected and sore and inflamed from a filthy napkin, which cannot have been changed for a very long time.”

Compassion is at the heart of every great religion.



  1. Sili says

    Unmarked? Who cares? That’s not important.

    As long the little soul was baptised, given the last rites and a proper Catholic burial, all is well. Those are the important things. Stop nitpicking so much.

  2. iknklast says

    Catholic burial? For Protestant babies? Never happen.

    Part of the problem is this idea that there is something inherently wrong with sex, that we must lock these women out of sight out of mind so they don’t pollute the entire community. Punish them for being young and alive and having no access to birth control. When will we allow biology to trump theology? Until we get a sound, reasonable approach to sex and sexuality, we’ll keep getting it wrong.

  3. busterggi says

    No problem – they probably baptised them first so everything is a-ok.

    And some people think American Horror Story: Asylum is fiction.

  4. says

    It has been a long battle that Derek Leinster has been fighting for on behalf of Bethany Homes. Joe Costello Labour TD and Jan O’Sullivan Labour TD Minister of State, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government with special responsibility for Housing and Planning in the current Dail, held a conference in 2005 at the dead-line of the closure of applications to the board to try to get both the Regina Ceoli and Bethany Homes on the redress board, it was without success. I remember at the time that a precedence would have been set, had we been successful, which would have opened up the floodgates. A risk, the government was not going to take – methinks. I also surmised greatly at the time that there may have been cherry-picking of mother and baby homes that went onto the scheduled list. For example, a mother and baby home in the constituency of the presiding Fine Fail taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and an institution in the constituency of a senior minister, Mary Hanafin FF went on the RIRB list. Some constituents of the latter may have campaigned outside the senior Minister for Education’s house or clinic at the time. They were vote- catchers. At that time in 2005 – from my recollection, anyway, vis-à-vis Bethany House, there was was not much mention of all the murky stuff that has now being unearthed. The stories get more shocking. So sickening!
    Derek Leinster gave me one of his books, which was a very thoughtful gesture. Joe Costello invited both of us to Xmas dinner in the Dail. I declined, as it wouldn’t be my cup of tea.

    I think that if there was some kind of inquiry held regarding Bethany Homes it could force the government to act, with respect of some form of redress, if it was found wanting. That way too it could get off with not having to deal with other mother and baby homes which would not have been investigated.

  5. Francisco Bacopa says

    Pretty clear it’s all about the punishment babies. The Catholics don’t care if mothers die, and it seems they are pretty cool with baby death. Then some protestant sects got totally into the punishment baby thing, though it’s still a gift from God. They don’t care either, as long as the sluts suffer. Pain and death bring us closer to God.

    Seriously folks: We can kill this bullshit. The Bible itself teaches that we can challenge and defeat God. Why did God banish Adam and Even from Eden and send an angel to guard the Tree of Life? Because if we had the knowledge of good and evil and continued to eat of the tree of life we could kick his ass. Even without the fruit of life we were able to threaten God with the tower of Babel. And now we have rebuilt the Tower. Most of us call it The Internet.

    And we have regained access to the Tree of Life. Yes, really, we have. Provide universal health care and maintain a reasonable GINI index and belief in God dies. Take away a chunk of the uncertainty of life and God dies. Health care and low inequality has killed God wherever it has arisen. Mexico is killing God, though the charts will tell you it is worse off than even Turkey and the United States. Canada’s God is on his last legs, and the US could easily kill Mexico’s ailing God by calling off the drug war and promoting small sale investment in Mexico rather than the insane colonial shit we do now.

    Kiva kills God. Helping people gain capital to make a developed economy from the ground up is part of the Fruit of Life.

    The United States has plenty of wealth to kill God. We are one of the richest and most productive nations on Earth. God trembles before our wrath. Good health care, reduction of the chaos of the flow of events, and a something like sustinence wages from companies where members of the board make incomes that could never be spent in three lifetimes of the Dos Equis man would kill all the American gods. Our gods must die.

  6. says

    It’s well known in Irish circles that cover-ups and disappearance of vital documents from the archives and elsewhere has been the name of the game since the outset of the commission to inquire in child institutional abuse. There was supposed to have been a flurry of officials falling all over themselves trying to conceal vital documents pertaining to institutions. The same was applicable in my case. The person who spotted the shenanigans pointed it out to a worker at the archives office, as s/he had at one time worked at a top level within the civil service, and knew what went on behind government scenes. So it’s unsurprising to me to discover re Bethany Homes that “documents have since emerged which reveal how reports were censored in the Forties to prevent some of the more damning findings from emerging.” Shame on the Irish government.

  7. freemage says

    ixolite: You gave me a bad turn, there (I’m familiar with Hepzibah Children’s Association in Oak Park, IL, which is a completely different organization, doing genuinely good work with emergency housing situations for children). Fortunately, the website you linked to made the distinction clear right away.

    *Reads the links, weeps* How the hell is this guy not in jail?

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