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Bethany survivors to fund €6000 memorial themselves

Correspondence about a memorial has been sent to Minister Shatter, who is said to be considering the information.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Updated 5 November

BETHANY HOME SURVIVORS have taken it upon themselves to fund a memorial for children buried in unmarked graves – because they no longer want to wait for the Government to fund one.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Derek Leinster of the Bethany Home Survivors group said that they could no longer wait for the government to tell them what it plans to do to regarding a memorial. The stone will cost €6000.

Leinster said:”I think basically speaking if we wait for that… me, I won’t be there when it’s done, that’s for sure.”

Leinster first approached the government with regard to a memorial stone back in 2009, and subsequently followed this up with the government that replaced them in 2010.

Now Leinster has moved forward with the campaign to raise money for the memorial, which is already designed, and said it is “going extremely well”.

The way things are, it looks as if I hope to be in a position to have the stone up at March at the latest.

He noted that the State has funded a number of Catholic memorials. “To think they would not give us a penny – what is it for them to consider?” he said of the Protestant Bethany Memorial. “Are we not people too?”

“We are being treated differently,” said Leinster. “I don’t believe them anymore.”

There are plots available at Mount Jerome where memorials could be placed, and the memorial Leinster has had designed will fit in one plot.

He said he has permission to place the stone at Mount Jerome.

“I’m very ashamed to think that our Government couldn’t treat us the same,” he said of the memorial. “That’s very shameful. It’s very hurtful but still delighted to think that I’m having amazing help from Catholics, Protestants, it doesn’t matter who.”

Should all go to plan, he hopes to have a ceremony in Mount Jerome in March of next year to mark the placement of the memorial stone.

A spokesperson for Minister Alan Shatter said that at the meeting on 16 April this year with Shatter and Minister for State Kathleen Lynch, the Bethany group raised the matter of a memorial to be erected at Mount Jerome Cemetery in remembrance of the children from the Bethany Home who are buried there.

At that time Minister Shatter said that he would be happy to consider a request for modest funding of a single memorial at the cemetery and indicated that it was a matter to which more detailed consideration could be given and invited the group to provide a proposal in this regard.

On 26 July the Government confirmed that it was willing to look at the question of a memorial and this information was passed to the Bethany Group.

The spokesperson said that correspondence about a memorial has since been received by Minister Shatter from the Bethany Group and “is being considered”.

“We are not going to wait,” said Leinster this week. “We have waited for too long.”

There is a bank account for those interested in making donations: Bethany Survivors, Bank of Ireland A/C number 91669681 sort code 90 67 34.

Read: Bethany Home survivors look into bringing government to court>

Read: Bethany Home survivor appeals to Taoiseach over redress>

Read: Bethany Home survivors: ‘State ignored us as children, and is still ignoring us’>

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