Alliance Support Group

April 2014 Archives

Such theology has led to abuse horrors



In a letter by B Cotton (April 24), which addressed the recent article in the Irish Examiner (April 17) about ‘Catholics for Choice‘, your correspondent states that ”as a practicing Catholic... contraception is banned, because sex was made by God to bring children into the world and not for self-gratification”.

Such bad theology as this, is exactly to blame for the horrors that have taken place in Ireland in the last century. As part of his contribution to the book Responding to the Ryan Report, Fr Seán Fagan (who is now silenced by his own Marist Order and the Vatican), in referring to the same opinion as your correspondent, that the Catholic Church belief that “the act [intercourse] was intimately linked to original sin [is] a distortion which has blighted Catholic theology until the present day”.

In the year 2000, John Paul II ‘apologised’ for two millennia of Christian violence and persecution, for the Crusades, the Inquisition, injustice towards women, he admitted that Galileo was right, he also sought repentance for the rape and torture of orphans in Christian run institutions from Ireland to Australia.

The devastation is still evident in Ireland There is Bethany, Tuam, Bessborough and Castlepollard, the list goes on and on.

In one of his few comments on the subject of the institutionalised rape and torture of children in Christian institutions, Benedict XVI stated “it is a very severe crisis, which involves us in the need to applying to these victims, the most loving pastoral care” I am sorry, such euphemistic apologies, repentances, or bad theology is of no value to the victims. Just look what it did to them. It is justice they need, and it is justice which they have been denied – so far.

Victor Stevenson 
Co Down

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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Toothless Bill cannot protect children from harm and neglect

Emer O'Kelly says the constitutional and religious right have stymied all progress on behalf of children




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The Roman Catholic Church is already defiantly indicating its refusal to obey the law on reporting suspected abuse, citing the
The Roman Catholic Church is already defiantly indicating its refusal to obey the law on reporting suspected abuse, citing the “seal of the confessional”

What is being described as the "long-awaited Children First Bill" was published last week. Its provisions were first propounded as "guidelines" as far back as 1999; except that the guidelines were a lot stricter and more comprehensive than the law will now require. "Certain professionals" – ie, medical practitioners, teachers, social workers, gardai, clergy, and child protection officers – will all now be required by law to report suspected abuse of children to the proper authorities: ie, the gardai. In the opinion of Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald, the new laws will "aim to make best safeguarding practice the 'cultural norm' for anyone working with children .  And the Roman Catholic Church is already defiantly indicating its refusal to obey, citing the "seal of the confessional". Once again, the church proves that it has learned nothing, and intends to learn nothing: children's pain matters not at all, and the law of the land will be treated with contempt where it clashes with the arcane intricacies of canon law. And we can whistle for our sanctions against its clergy.The Children's Rights Alliance and children's activist Senator Jillian van Turnhout have both criticised the Bill as inadequate, pointing out that there are to be no legal sanctions against those who fail or refuse to obey the law on reporting suspected abuse.

Perhaps even more alarmingly, the chair of the Irish Association of Social Workers, Ineke Durville, has pointed out that the social investigation system is already overwhelmed, even before the passing of the Bill into law. We have only one-third of the international average of social workers in the field, an average which is already consistently found in other countries to be inadequate.

So has this much-vaunted Bill anything going for it? Let's look at our record.

Twenty one years ago, a team led by a woman called Catherine McGuinness wrote a document that said, in part: "The very high emphasis on the rights of the family in the Constitution may consciously or unconsciously be interpreted as giving a higher value to the rights of the parents than to the rights of the children." That was one of the conclusions of what has become known as the "Kilkenny Incest Report". It arose because a teenager had given birth, entirely normally. Except that her own father was the father of her child. He had systematically raped and battered her over a period of years.

And, of course, the nation state said "never again".

Two years later, a man called Joe McColgan received a cumulative sentence of 238 years in prison. A young woman, his daughter Sophia McColgan, had found the supremely dignified courage to take action on her own behalf and that of her two younger brothers and sister. Sophia McColgan was six years old in 1979, the year of Pope John Paul's historic visit to Ireland. Sophia received her First Communion that year, on the day her father raped her for the first time. The rapes went on for years, as did the beatings, and ritual savage humiliations of all four children. Their father deliberately broke one his sons' fingers with a rock. He tried to force his small children to have sex with each other while he watched. And he raped them, indoors and outdoors, endlessly, monstrously.

McColgan had only to serve the longest of the many sentences handed down for the litany of sub-human crimes he had inflicted on his children. In 2004, he walked free, having served nine years of 12: he received full 25 per cent remission for "good behaviour". He had refused to accept any treatment for his sexual deviancy while in prison.

There was no fuss; except, of course, that when he was sentenced in 1995, the nation state had said "never again".

In 2009, a man called Sean Ryan issued a report commissioned by the government. It contained the brutal litany of crimes that had been committed over generations against children confined in State-owned, Catholic Church- run institutions. They were forced into unpaid labour, denied education, half-starved, beaten, and frequently sexually assaulted. That was contained in the report carried out by Mr Justice Sean Ryan into institutional child abuse in Ireland.

Eilis O'Hanlon, Soapbox, BACK PAGE

And the nation state said "never again", and there must be restitution.

Except that this year, 2014, the European Court of Human Rights handed down a judgment on behalf of a woman called Louise O'Keeffe. It said that the Irish State had failed in its duty to protect her rights – as a child in school, she was sexually assaulted by a teacher. Louise O'Keeffe received that judgment because the nation state had fought her every inch of the way, forcing her to go to Europe. While she was fighting, the State Claims Agency had warned that anyone who shared Louise O'Keeffe's temerity and sought legal damages for abuse during schooldays would be pursued for costs of any legal action which failed.

In the run-up to the successful Constitutional Referendum on Children's Rights in 2012, the Taoiseach said that we would be voting to insert an article in the Constitution "dedicated entirely to children as individuals, as citizens in their own right". Except that the new clause has still not been inserted in the Constitution, because a legal challenge to the result of the referendum is waiting to be heard in the Supreme Court.

Every step of progress on behalf of children in this State has been fought bitterly by the constitutional and religious right. Prior to the referendum in 2009, the former MEP Kathy Sinnott said she believed that the proposed terms of the referendum were "too close for comfort to those of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child". Except she apparently had not noticed that Ireland had ratified that Convention in 1992.

The conclusion quoted earlier from the Kilkenny incest report in 1993 was described around that time by David Quinn, now a board member of the conservative Catholic think tank the Iona Institute, as "ideologically self-serving and very wide of the mark". Rather than requiring what Judge McGuinness called "a specific and overt declaration of the rights of born children", he said the blame (for hideous crimes against children) should be pointed at "the decline in traditional values".

There are violent psychopaths in every society. We need stringent, even draconian laws which will help us to stop as many of them as is possible. But we need laws which go further: which put the fear of god, or satan, or something into all people who harm or neglect children, whether wilfully or through inadequacy.

We have been saying "never again" for a very long time. And this ridiculous watered-down Bill doesn't even say that. It is merely a blanket to attempt to muffle the sounds of weeping, anguished children. Shame on us; and shame on our Government for our and their indifferent hearts and empty words.

Sunday Independent



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Vatican delegation delayed church reform, says Martin


Visitation from Rome in wake of Murphy report and Ryan report ‘froze the Irish church’

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin reflects on ten years of service and Pope Francis. Video: Darragh Bambrick

A delegation sent by Rome following the publication of the Murphy and Ryan reports effectively held up reform of the church in Ireland and “set expectations it was never going to realise”, Catholic Archbishop Dr Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said.

They were dispatched by the Vatican following the publication of the reports in 2009 to establish what went wrong in the Irish church.

The apostolic visitation, which comprised seven high-powered teams, “froze the Irish church at a particular moment” and “actually, in some ways, delayed reforms in the Irish church”, Archbishop Martin said.

In a veiled criticism of the Vatican, he said his comments were not a criticism of those who carried out the visitation, but “maybe a criticism of those who planned it”.

The Murphy report examined the handling of allegations of clerical child sex abuse in the Dublin archdiocese and was published in November 2009. The Ryan report on abuse in residential institutions for children was published in May of the same year.

Unrealistic expectations
Dr Martin said the visitation from Rome “set expectations it was never going to realise and I think there are lessons to be learned for future events of that kind”.

The Irish church “has to find the answers for the Irish church and where it has done so it has done so well”, he added.

In an extensive interview with The Irish Times to mark the 10 years since he became Archbishop of Dublin on April 26th, 2004, Dr Martin also referred to the debate about pluralism in education.

He said he was not happy about all teachers being forced to teach religion in schools.

“I’m not happy with somebody who really doesn’t believe being forced to be the religious education teacher in a school.”

Dr Martin said teachers “should be able to move to the type of school where they would be happier in accordance with their own conscience and convictions”.

Ways had to be found “which allow each of us to flourish in our own traditions. And also to flourish in public in our traditions.”

‘Plurality of patronage’
On plurality in schools boards of management, he said: “I believe we will only have pluralism when, in schools, there’s a plurality of patronage which allows people of different traditions to flourish within their tradition . . . those who want something different, they also have a civic right to have that provided for them.”

He felt “a more robust collaboration between the Department [of Education] and the church would make these things move a little more quickly.”

In the context of Pope Francis’s call for a poor church for the poor, he said of Archbishop’s House in Drumcondra: “My living quarters are smaller than his. He uses the Vatican to receive people there all the time.

“My staff is half that of my predecessor. I probably cook more meals for myself than he did.

“I look after myself [and] my own shopping”

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Current News from the RISF


The table below shows the status of applications

Applications received 2345
Verified as eligible 2145
Deemed ineligible 20
Evidence of identity received and verified 504
Applicants who have received telephone calls from an Applications Advisor 73
Applications approved 26
Payments made 38


Click here for  Further information about applications received from January to March 2014

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Charities ordered to review salary scales



The Brothers of Charity, which provides services around the country for people with intellectual disabilities, has been ordered to review the salaries of 14 senior staff members whose pay scales range from €67,000 to €106,000.

These individuals are among 33 workers in social care organisations receiving money from the State, whose pay packages have been identified by the Health Service Executive to be out of line.

Others include the Cope Foundation, where chief executive Colette Kelleher’s salary is €121,600, while the charity’s director of nursing earns a salary of €89,120.

The Daughters of Charity Services for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities has also been told to review the €136,282 salary of its chief executive, Denis Cronin, and cease his annual car allowance of €11,892 a year.

Peamont Hospital, which provides social care and rehabilitation for older people and residential services for people with neurological or intellectual disabilities, has been told to review the €96,000 salaries paid to both its director of finance and director of nursing.

The HSE has also urged a review of the €136,282 salary paid to its chief executive, Robert Mullan, and the ceasing of the on-campus accommodation provided to him.

It has ordered a review of the €12,300 top-up payment made to the chief executive of St Michael’s House, Patricia Doherty, on top of her €129,334 salary — which brings the total remuneration to €141,638.

Five other members of its senior management are receiving salary top-ups from privately funded money, which the HSE has recommended be reviewed.

They include: Director of operations David Dunne, who receives a €21,796 top-up to his €100,796 salary; two regional directors, who receive a €20,297 top-up to salaries of €91,577; and one regional director, who receives a €7,180 top-up to a €98,757 salary.

The Brothers of Charity has made business cases arguing for the retention of pay and allowance for 14 of its senior management team. They include the Directors of Services in the Southern Region and Galway region who receive the pay scale of a local health managers, plus six per cent, amounting to €87,989-€106,585.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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Pope asks for forgiveness for sex abuse by priests


Friday 11 April 2014 15.41
Pope Francis said the number of guilty priests was 'quite a few in number'
Pope Francis said the number of guilty priests was 'quite a few in number'

Pope Francis has personally asked for forgiveness for child sex abuse by priests, the first time he has made such an apology since being elected last year.

"I feel compelled ... to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children," the Pope said at a meeting with members of a children's charity, Vatican Radio reported.

Pope Francis said the number of guilty priests was "quite a few in number" but "obviously not compared to the number of all the priests".

"The church is aware of this damage," he said.

"It is personal, moral damage carried out by men of the church and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem and the sanctions that must be imposed."

The Pope was meeting members of International Catholic Child Bureau, which works to protect the rights and dignity of children worldwide.

Thousands of cases of abuse by priests have come to light over the past decade and the Catholic Church is regularly accused of trying to cover up the crimes.

However, the Vatican has vowed a zero-tolerance approach and has begun implementing prevention and detection measures to root out abuse, although this varies widely between different countries.

Pope Francis's predecessor Benedict XVI had also made a personal apology for the abuses.

Keywords: pope francis

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Bethany survivor welcomes review



Education Minister Ruairi Quinn

Abuse survivors of Bethany Home have welcomed a Government commitment to review any evidence of State responsibility in the negligent treatment of residents at the facility.

The agreement comes amid calls for compensation for survivors of the home.

Survivors of the Protestant home were given a glimmer of hope yesterday after Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said he would ask the Department of Justice to reassess if their situation was comparable to that of victims of institutional residential abuse.

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald, who raised the matter in the Dáil, welcomed the commitment.

Bethany Home was set up in 1922 and was run by an interdenominational committee from various Protestant churches and later moved to Rathgar, Dublin. The home was closed in 1972.

As well as unmarried mothers and their children, it also took in prostitutes, alcoholics and prisoners and was used as a detention centre for female offenders, non-Catholic children, and young people under 17.

The State has so far only paid €25,000 towards a memorial.

It was unveiled this week for 222 children who died at the home and were buried in an unmarked grave.

The Government to date have said Bethany was a mother and baby home and did not fall within the terms of the redress scheme.

Bethany Survivors Group chairman Derek Leinster welcomed the review.

“We have undeniable evidence the Irish Government was responsible at every level based on criteria of the 2002 act of the redress scheme. We have inspection documents and documents that show the State was involved in payments to the home.

“We honestly think that the Government has to set up a small team to deal with this.”

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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After all our efforts with Government and Agencies- Can this be true????


Guidelines not followed in caretaker abuse case

Thursday 03 April 2014 11.00

58-year-old Michael Ferry from Carrick Boyle, Gweedore continued to work as a school caretaker after a conviction for indecently assaulting a boy
58-year-old Michael Ferry from Carrick Boyle, Gweedore continued to work as a school caretaker after a conviction for indecently assaulting a boy

An internal review of how the Health Board and subsequently the Health Service Executive responded to the case of a man, who was convicted of abusing boys at a former school in the Donegal Gaeltacht, has found that the initial response did not comply with the Children First guidelines.

The review related to the case of 58-year-old Michael Ferry from Carrick Boyle, Gweedore who was convicted in 2002 of indecently assaulting a boy.

He continued to work as a caretaker at Ard Scoil Mhuire, which was used as an Irish language college.

In July 2011, he was jailed for 14 years for sexually assaulting four boys.

The Tusla review stated that the Health Board was contacted twice by gardaí in 2002 in relation to Mr Ferry, expressing concerns that he was still working in a caretaking role in a school and that other children may be at risk of abuse.

However, it found that the response was not in full compliance with Children First guidelines.

A phone call was made to the director of the school who confirmed that Mr Ferry had no access to children and the case was subsequently closed.

The review said that Mr Ferry's conviction in 2002 should have alerted the Health Board to the risk this man posed to children and it was not enough to take the word of the college that he no longer had access to children.

It found that no attempt was made to gather information on his family or whether he might have been involved in other areas of work and it noted that he had two sisters with children but they were not spoken to.  

However, the review found that there was a marked contrast between the response in 2002 and in 2010 when gardaí again contacted the HSE to tell them that Mr Ferry had made admissions to allegations of abuse.

In 2010, the review stated: "The HSE put in place a comprehensive plan to ensure that any adults coming forward following the conviction of the man would be referred to the appropriate services."

It also stated that the victim in this period was met and offered services to help him through the trauma he was experiencing.

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Monument to 222 lost Bethany children to be unveiled at ceremony



The names of children who died while at the home are due to be released in the hope people will find their relations who lived there.

The monument at Mount Jerome cemetery.
The monument at Mount Jerome cemetery.
Image: Derek Leinster

A MONUMENT TO children who died while in the care of Bethany Home is to be unveiled this afternoon at a Dublin cemetery.

A group of survivors is to gather at Mount Jerome to mark the official unveiling of the monument, which was funded by the Irish Government.

Bethany Home was a protestant home on Dublin’s Orwell Road, where young unmarried mothers lived with their young children. Many of the children were subsequently adopted, and survivors say they suffered neglect as children.

Over 200 children died while in the care of Bethany Home.

Survivors campaigning

The Bethany Survivors Campaign, as part of its campaign for justice, is seeking recognition of those who did not survive life at the home.

“222 Bethany children were denied so much in their short lives and even in death the right to their name on a headstone,” said the survivors’ spokesperson, Derek Leinster.

He said that the children were placed in unmarked ground, until rediscovered by the Bethany campaign in 2010.

At 4pm today, an ecumenical service conducted by Canon Mark Gardner will be held in the Victorian chapel in Mount Jerome cemetery. The memorial stone will then be unveiled within the grounds of the cemetery.


Leinster said that the funding of this memorial by the State “is one small step in the right direction by the government”.

The next step is for the state to recognise its responsibility to Bethany survivors, by admitting them to a scheme of redress.

The names of the children on the memorial headstone will also be released at 4pm today.

Leinster said that 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,” he said.

He said that the Bethany Survivors’ Campaign for justice and restitution continues.

The names of the children were researched from Mount Jerome Cemetery records in May and September 2010 by Niall Meehan, head of the Journalism and Media Faculty at Griffith College, Dublin.

Meehan said that today “is not a day for apportioning blame but for taking responsibility”.

“These children were abandoned like thousands of others in Irish society and destined to be forgotten. Today is a day for them to be remembered and to be recognised,” he said.

Meehan said it was hoped that the children may also at some stage gain a family through the release of their names. “That would be the best outcome of today’s unveiling,” he said.

Public event

Those due to attend the memorial service and unveiling in Mount Jerome today include Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn, Minister Joe Costello, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald, Father Peter McVerry and representaties from the Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Methodist and Church of Ireland churches in Ireland.

Members of the public are also invited to attend the event at the Harold’s Cross cemetery at 4pm.

Read: Memorial to 222 children who died at Bethany Home to be unveiled>

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Bethany Home memorial unveiled



An inscription at Mount Jerome Cemetery to the children who died at Bethany Home. Picture: Colin Keegan

The lives of 222 children whose deaths at a Protestant mother and baby home were hidden for decades have been recognised with a special memorial.

A headstone carrying the names of babies from the Bethany Mother and Child Home who were buried in unmarked graves in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harold’s Cross, Dublin, has been unveiled at a new plot.

Details of all the children who died at the home have also been posted on the campaign group’s Facebook page in the hope relatives may identify a lost child.

Derek Leinster, chairman of the Bethany Survivors group who spent about three years and 10 months in the home as an infant, said the survivors’ quest for redress from the State will not end with the memorial.

He said: “Children were disregarded as nobodies. Someone who could be cast aside. That was not right. And I was one of those children. I was left to die at three years of age. It was a miracle I came out alive.”

The Protestant-run home for unmarried mothers and their children was in operation from 1921 to 1972. It was first based in Blackhall Place, Dublin and later moved to Rathgar.

Niall Meehan, whose research helped uncover the extent of the unmarked graves, said the day was about bringing dignity to the deaths of scores of children, a right every person is entitled to.

“The memorial gives recognition to the children that they were denied in their short lives. They were destined to be forgotten.

“It gives them the minimum that everyone gets when they die, their names on a headstone. And it means that if there are any families who come across the names they may find they had a relative who died — that will give the children who died something else, it will give them a family which they were also denied in their short lives.”

The 6ft memorial stone is Kilkenny limestone with carved designs including toys to signify a lost childhood and trees the length of time the campaign for recognition has taken. State funds helped to pay for it.

A plinth around the stone carries poems from Mr Leinster, and a verse from survivor Patrick Anderson- McQuoid who wrote: “Over time, As natures seasons multiply. You are all remembered. You teach us in your absence, That over time, Love never dies.”

The Church of Ireland service included a piper’s lament and music from organist Coleen Andrews, a survivor of another Church of Ireland home, Westbank House in Bray. Other Survivors and their families from the North, Scotland, England, Wales, Australia and Portugal attended.

Mr Meehan, head of journalism and media at Griffith College Dublin, added: “Today is not a day for apportioning blame but for taking responsibility. These children were abandoned like thousands of others in Irish society and destined to be forgotten. Today is a day for them to be remembered and to be recognised.”

The Bethany group claims to have documents proving state officials ignored evidence of neglect and record numbers of deaths in the home in the late 1930s.

In 2010, the group, with the help of Mr Meehan, discovered 219 unmarked graves in Mount Jerome of children from the home.

The Government last year determined former Bethany inmates would not get state compensation similar to the survivors of Magdalene laundries or clerical abuse because they did not suffer sex abuse, brutality or forced labour.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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Vatican misled UN committee on compensation to Magdalene women

Submission was so inaccurate, Alan Shatter wrote to Rome seeking clarification

A building on Sean McDermott St in Dublin which is reported to have been used as a Magdalene laundry. Photograph: Eric Luke.

A building on Sean McDermott St in Dublin which is reported to have been used as a Magdalene laundry. Photograph: Eric Luke.

Wed, Apr 2, 2014, 01:00

Claims made by the Vatican in a submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) last December were so inaccurate, it prompted Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to write to Rome seeking clarification, The Irish Times has learned.

The Vatican asserted to the UNCRC that the four religious congregations that ran Magdalene laundries in Ireland were willing to pay part of a compensation scheme developed by the State for women who had been in the laundries.

However, two of the religious congregations concerned have since repeated their unwillingness to contribute to any compensation scheme for the women.

When the UNCRC issued its final report on the Vatican’s child protection record last February, Rome came in for unprecedented worldwide criticism.

In its response, the Vatican said it was “heartened by the openness of the religious sisters to engage in discussions about issues of compensation and their willingness to pay a part of a compensation package developed by state authorities”.

But the four congregations involved have all publicly declined to contribute to the proposed compensation scheme.

A spokesman for Mr Shatter this week confirmed that the Minister had been so surprised by the Vatican statement he wrote to the congregations, asking whether, “based on the statement from the Holy See, they had reconsidered their position with regard to making a financial contribution to the scheme”.

The Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Charity replied that their position was “unchanged”. The other two have not yet responded. The Minister has also written to the Vatican seeking “clarification” following its statement to the UNCRC.

It is thought the Vatican may have confused the compensation scheme with that for victims of institutional abuse in Ireland, to which religious congregations have contributed.

A church observer in Rome this week suggested this seemed to indicate that the Vatican submission to the UNCRC had been, at least partly, “a bit of a cut-and-paste job”.

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Monument to Bethany Home's 222 dead children unveiled



An inscription on the monument

As a monument is unveiled today to the 222 children who died at a Protestant children’s home and were buried in unmarked graves, survivors of the home have pledged to continue their fight for justice.

The Department of Justice offered the Bethany Survivor’s Group up to €25,000 towards their memorial, but has refused to include them in the redress scheme that was offered to the survivors of Magdalene laundries.

“To help fund the memorial was the right step on the behalf of the Department, but we want them to know it is only the first step. The State had a duty of care to us, yet we suffered enormous abuse and that must be acknowledged,” said Derek Leinster, chairman of the Bethany Survivor’s Group.

A Church of Ireland service at Mount Jerome Chapel will precede the unveiling of the six foot sculpture at the adjoining cemetery at Harold’s Cross, Dublin, today.

Toys and trees are carved on to the Kilkenny limestone sculpture. The toys represent the childhood the Bethany children never had, the trees the length of time they have waited for their story to be acknowledged. A robin is also carved into the six foot monument.

“The robin is highly symbolic as it’s known for always coming back to feed its young and is a survivor despite its diminutive size. It’s also known as having the loudest voice for such a small bird,” says Derek Leinster, chairman of the Bethany Survivor’s Group.

Coleen Andrews, a survivor of another Church of Ireland home, Westbank House in Bray, will play the organ at the unveiling and survivors and their families from the North, Scotland, England, Wales, Australia and Portugal will attend.

Local TD and Junior Minister at the Department of Foreign Affairs Joe Costello will also be present, as will Sinn Féin deputy Mary Lou McDonald who will be one of a group who will cut the ribbon to the sound of Eamonn Walsh’s pipeplaying.

“It will be a day that we will always remember. We have been 16 years seeking acknowledgment for what was done to us,” said Mr Leinster.

The Church of Ireland will be represented by Church of Ireland priest Canon Mark Gardiner and the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, is also sending a representative. Fr Peter McVerry, long-time champion of the homeless, will attend.

Up to €5,500 was raised by the survivors’ group towards the monument before the Department offered to help. This will be used for the monument’s upkeep and for an annual day of remembrance at the monument, said Mr Leinster.

The unmarked children’s grave was found in 2010 by Griffith College Dublin lecturer Niall Meehan who traced unnamed dead children registered with the home to adjoining unmarked common graves in Mount Jerome.

The Bethany Home was set up in 1922 and was run by an interdenominational committee from various Protestant churches.

As well as unmarried mothers and their children, it also took in prostitutes, alcoholics and prisoners and was used as a detention centre for female offenders, non-Catholic children and young people under 17.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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Priest who was found innocent of sexual assault charges resigns ministry



A priest who was acquitted in 2012 of sexual assault charges has resigned from ministry in the Diocese of Derry.

Fr Eugene Boland, a parish priest in Cappagh, County Tyrone, stepped aside four years ago while allegations were being investigated.

He had resumed his duties just two weeks ago, after it was confirmed legal proceedings and Church processes had been completed.

The Donegal-born priest's resignation was announced in a statement issued by the Diocese.

Fr Boland, of Killyclogher Road in Omagh, was acquitted of indecently assaulting a teenage girl in June 2012 following an eight-day trial at Derry Crown Court.

The statement said Fr Boland had been engaged in therapy sessions to prepare for his return to ministry after being cleared of the allegations of abuse.

However on his return it had "all too quickly become clear to Fr Boland and diocesan authorities that he is not ready".

The statement said Fr Boland now needs more time for help and guidance in this regard, and has been granted leave of absence from ministry.More Sharing Services

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