Monument to 222 children who died in Bethany Home unveiled

Wednesday 02 April 2014 19.16
The 222 children died between 1922 and 1949 at the Bethany Home
The 222 children died between 1922 and 1949 at the Bethany Home

Government ministers joined their Northern Assembly counterparts, church representatives and survivors of the Bethany Home today for the unveiling of a monument to over 200 children buried in previously unmarked graves in a Dublin cemetery.   

The 222 children died between 1922 and 1949 in the now-defunct home and were buried secretly in Mount Jerome Cemetery nearby.

The premises, in the south Dublin suburb of Rathgar, was managed by a Protestant Board of governors that featured many evangelical leaders.

It was recommended to the government by a Church of Ireland Archbishop as a suitable place to keep Protestant women and girls on remand from the courts.

Campaigners say that regular inspections by Department of Health officials failed to prevent deaths, illness and abuse. They say that, instead, they concentrated on ensuring that Catholics were not held there.

The memorial stone bearing the names of those who died has been funded by the Government.

Acknowledging the gesture as one small step in the right direction, the Bethany Survivors Campaign's leader, Derek Leinster, urged the Government to recognise its responsibility to Bethany survivors by admitting them to a scheme of redress.

Labour Deputy Robert Dowds, representing Minister of State Joe Costello, and the Northern Executive's Danny Kennedy joined Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn, the Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Council, Carrie Smyth, and Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald at the service and unveiling.

At least ten of the dozens of the home's survivors and supporters attended. Some travelled from Australia, the United States and various parts of the United Kingdom.

Mr Leinster said relatives may not be aware that a member of their family is buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery.

"They may now become aware of that fact and will have somewhere to grieve. In that way, the forgotten children may at last gain the recognition and the family they always deserved," he added.

Keywords: bethany home