State's treatment of single mothers ‘a historic disgrace’

Bethany Survivors Group says State did not regulate the health and welfare of Bethany Home children

Members of the Bethany Survivors Group Patrick Anderson-McQuoid and Derek Leinster in 2010 at the burial site of children from the Bethany Home, at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harolds Cross, Dublin.  Photograph: Eric Luke

Members of the Bethany Survivors Group Patrick Anderson-McQuoid and Derek Leinster in 2010 at the burial site of children from the Bethany Home, at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harolds Cross, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

Wed, Apr 17, 2013, 23:06

The State's treatment of young women and single mothers in the past was a “historic disgrace”, the founder of the Bethany Survivors Group said yesterday during a briefing as part of its ongoing campaign to seek redress for former residents of a Protestant-run mother and baby home.

Derek Leinster said that he and other babies and children who resided in the Dublin-based Bethany Home, which operated between 1921 and 1972, were neglected and that this had had a long-term impact on their lives.

Secretary of the group Niall Meehan said the State regulated Bethany but “did not regulate the health and welfare of the children in the Bethany Home”. He said the State now had a responsibility to “the survivors of the Bethany Home who are few”, noting that the group were aware of 18 former residents who were still alive.

Members of the group met Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Minister of State at the department, Kathleen Lynch, on Tuesday and are awaiting a response from the Coalition on the issues raised at the meeting including the group’s call for redress.