Remembering the babies at Bethany
Sir, – We read with anguish the many letters that Derek Leinster writes to the Church of Ireland Gazette relating to the babies and children who perished while in the care of the Bethany “Homes”.
It is a cause of immense shame to many of us who were unaware of this scandalous situation to witness the abject failure of the Church of Ireland to step up to the mark and shoulder a share of the cost, at the very least, of some tangible physical memorial stones to the memory of the babies and children who died in the various Bethany “Homes” and elsewhere, never mind offer an overdue apology and, where appropriate, compensation to the diminishing band of “survivors” who bravely and stoically bore the treatment they experienced in these questionable “Homes”.
Moreover, when the Church of Ireland finally decides to clearly support the memory of the dead babies and children and to actively help the survivors whom Derek Leinster and the Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors represent, then pressure needs to be brought to bear on the Irish Government to acknowledge the existence of the “Protestant” babies and children at Mount Jerome and elsewhere in the same way that the scandal of the Tuam Angels has brought a response involving millions of euros for the work involved.
Surely there must be a serving bishop (even archbishop), serving cleric or office-holding layperson who is willing to speak up, speak out and enable the Church of Ireland to acknowledge failure with respect to this dreadful historic wrongdoing, exhibit compassion to the memory of these little ones as we approach Holy Innocents later this month and enable us all to delight in the babe in the manger on Christmas morn knowing that a wrong has been righted and that the babies and children have not been forgotten who perished in our care in these “Homes”.
Derek Leinster must no longer be “a voice crying in the wilderness”, action must follow. – Yours, etc,
Canon RONNIE CLARK,