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Calling any former residents of Bethany Home

I was brought up in the south of Ireland in Co Wicklow by a Church of Ireland Family. I was born in the Bethany Home, Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin, in 1941. It catered for young, unmarried mothers from the Church of Ireland mainly.

While the attitudes that forced my mother into the home to give birth in secret and to give away her child have fortunately long gone, the consequences have not. I am one of those consequences and so are the many other children that went through the doors of Bethany Home and its associated Emmanuel Home, also known as Avoca (or 'Ovoca') Manor, Co Wicklow.

Many children were fostered out or adopted by families in Northern Ireland. I would love to hear from former residents. I have made contact with some but I am sure there are more out there.

One of the consequences of being from the small Protestant community in the south is that it is more difficult for us 'problem' children to make contact and to discuss common issues of concern.

There is also the issue of the scheme of redress run by the government in the Republic for homes that were inadequately regulated. The Bethany Home is currently excluded from this scheme. I don't agree with this, though I think the decision can be reversed with enough people power. So, people, where are you?

DEREK LEINSTER

www.derekleinster.com

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