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Bethany Home

Fears that survivors will die before mother-and-baby home probe even begins

The founder of one survivors’ group said they don’t want any more p
“We don’t want promises. That’s all we’ve ever had as survivors is promises and being let down all our lives. We want something to be constructive and get on with it. Until that is done we can’t believe anything will happen.” – Derek Leinster

mount-jerome-2014-04-02-patrick-hugh-lynch-38-390x285 The memorial at Mount Jerome Derek Leinster Derek Leinster

THE FOUNDER OF a group for survivors of mother-and-baby homes has expressed concern that survivors are dying or suffering from dementia as the government debates its inquiry into the homes.

The full terms of reference for the forthcoming Mother and Baby Home Inquiry will be published on 8 January and are expected to be debated in the Dáil in the middle of that month.

Derek Leinster of Bethany Home Survivors said that the wait was tough. “You think you’re making progress and then you’re let down very quickly from a very great height and you’re starting off again.”

He said many of the survivors “are only hanging on by their fingertips” because of health and age. He said the Government had a duty of care to survivors “when it happened and they have a duty of care now that we have exposed it”.

“When you’re talking about in terms of the Bethany Home people you’re talking about people well into their 80s and a lot of people in bad health because of the lack of care they had as children,” said Leinster, adding that some of the survivors also have dementia.

A lot of Bethany Home survivors gave up years ago of ever getting justice because of how things have been in their lives.

He said he wants Minister Reilly to “step up a gear and get on with it”.

However Leinster said that despite this wait, they have had some positive things happen, such as a memorial at Mount Jerome cemetery for the babies from Bethany who were buried in unmarked graves.

He said the memorial meant the government “could not pretend we weren’t there”.

Phone call from Minister Reilly

An umbrella group of survivors said the groups received a phone call from Minister James Reilly’s office on 15 December, advising them the terms of reference for the mother-and-baby home inquiry are completed following their review by the Attorney General.

The groups said they welcome the movement on the inquiry after several months delay.

They asked: “Are the Taoiseach, Tanaiste and the Cabinet listening to the united voices of the survivors?”

Read: ‘For the first time in 16 years we were treated the same as Catholics’>

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