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An Open Letter To All Protestant Church Leaders In Ireland

An Open Letter To All Protestant Church Leaders In Ireland

Archbishop Of Dublin

Dear Dr Jackson

As survivors of the Bethany Home in Dublin, we along with friends and
supporters, held our annual remembrance ceremony on the 28th of August,
for 219 children who died in Bethany and who lie in unmarked graves In
Mount Jerome cemetery.

While this was a sad and somber occasion, there was added poignancy and
sadness due to the fact that no Protestant church leader or their
representatives felt it was necessary ( or they were too busy ) to
attend this event. As many of the survivors reflect on the abuse they
suffered in Protestant institutions, they have derived comfort and
support from their faith, as they have endeavoured to cope with the
abuse they suffered. As we stood in Jerome and thought of all the
children who did not survive the abuse and neglect inflicted on them,
it was especially painful that no leader from our churches saw fit to
be there and show solidarity with survivors both past and present. It
was therefore all the more hurtful when we realised that our own church
leaders have deserted us and the children in Jerome. For some survivors
in their twilight years it is a bitter blow to realise that leaders
whom they previously respected, do not actually practice what they
preach, when the issue is about those who died and were abused in
Protestant institutions.

We would hope that even at this stage ( before it is too late ), that
our leaders would change, as our Lord himself said “I say to you that
there will be more happiness in heaven over one person who turns to God
and changes the way he thinks and acts than………” We would urge all
Protestant leaders to put on the mantle of shepherds to all of their
flock, and recognise the pain of those who have survived ( but who live
daily live with ) abuse, we also urge our leaders to respect the memory
of those who sadly did not survive.

We urge you to recognise the great wrong that has been inflicted, and
which continues to be perpetrated; surely you do not wish this to be
done in your name? It is crucial that you understand the hurt and pain
suffered both to past and present survivors. We look to you to
undertake your duty, so that we can find some measure of closure for
the terrible events which have taken place.

Due to the fact that the Protestant church leaders continue their
deafening silence, and lack of action, they actually treat survivors
past and present as if they are of no worth. This lack of Christian
duty and compassion adds further hurt to us, and desecrates the memory
of the children in Jerome. Indeed it has been the ignorance and dogma
of the past which has precisely caused the pain and suffering on
children in the past, and which still inflicts hurt and pain on
survivors to this very day.

This great wrong must be challenged and confronted by you, as a group
we would request a meeting with yourselves so that we can discuss the
best way forward.

Yours sincerely,

Derek Leinster
Chairman of the Bethany Survivors Group
42 Southey Road Rugby
01788 817311