Coventry & Warwickshire

Derek Leinster: Children's home man takes case to European court

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Media captionDerek Leinster is taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights

A man who said he suffered serious neglect at a children's home in Ireland is hoping to have his case heard at the European Court of Human Rights.

Derek Leinster, 75, who was born at Dublin's Bethany Home in 1941, has campaigned for Protestant homes survivors to receive the same rights as those from Catholic institutions.

Mr Leinster, now living in Rugby, said his unmarried mother was at the home.

A Commission of Investigation inquiry is due to report by early 2018.

Papers have been lodged with the European Court of Human Rights and Mr Leinster and his solicitors are now waiting for a ruling. The Church of Ireland has not commented.

More than 220 children died in Bethany between 1922 and 1949.

Mr Leinster, who was adopted aged four, said he contracted gastroenteritis, diphtheria, whooping cough and pneumonia at the Protestant-run home, which closed in 1970.

Image caption A building once known as Bethany Home in Dublin is a different business now

After revelations of child physical and sexual abuse over decades in various Catholic-run institutions, the Irish government set up a compensation scheme for the survivors of, amongst others, industrial schools and orphanages.

Mr Leinster wants an apology and compensation from the Irish government and Church of England.

He said: "I want what is right and I want it not just for me but for Ireland."

Image copyright Derek Leinster
Image caption A memorial stone for children who died at Bethany Home was erected on 2 April 2014 at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harold's Cross, Dublin

The Irish government said the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes was established in February 2015, to find out what happened to vulnerable women and children in 14 homes, including the Bethany Home, from 1922 to 1998.

"In the absence of all relevant information it is not possible for the State to consider the aspirations of some for financial redress in respect of the matters within the scope of the investigation," it said.

"[In 1999] the then Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, issued an unreserved apology on behalf of the State to all victims of child abuse."

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