A child died every three weeks at the Bethany Home in Dublin

Breadan O'Connor

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Researcher Niall Meehan has found evidence that child inmates of the Bethany Home in Dublin died at the rate of one every three weeks in the period from 1935 to 1940.

Given the relatively small number of inmates this seems a horrifying death rate. RTÉ News: Death every 3 weeks at Bethany Home - research

The story is also headline news in today's Irish Daily Mail.

Apparently the state refused to send Catholic children to the institution because of concerns of neglect following a complaint but allowed the home to continue to take Protestant children.

Survivors are demanding compensation under the state's redress scheme for survivors of institutional abuse.
 


B

birthday

Funny how little outrage there has been over this-must be something to do with the fact that the RC church were not involved.

Why are the survivors being excluded from RRB?
 

Breadan O'Connor

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Why are the survivors being excluded from RRB?


The State is claiming that children were put in the home in a voluntary capacity(presumably not put there by the courts). However Niall Meehan has found evidence that in 1945 the state did designate the home as a place of detention for female Protestant young persons and children.

The Irish Daily Mail reports that children in the home suffered from marasmus, which is a polite word for starvation.
 

The OD

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Funny how little outrage there has been over this-must be something to do with the fact that the RC church were not involved.

Why are the survivors being excluded from RRB?
I'm outraged, it matters not whether the place was run by the CC or some other Protestant denomination, children starved and children died and all the while the state stood back and allowed it to happen. Again. And again and again.

Then, to add insult to injury, they deny compensation? As far as I am concerned, if they allowed an organisation to 'look after' children and that organisation failed them, the state is as culpable.

But then, considering that vulnerable children have never, ever been an issue for successive governments right up todays, its little wonder really.....
 

wombat

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Just wondering how the death rate compared to that of the general population - especially among the poor of which there were a lot at the time
 

Catalpa

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Just read that Article in the latest edition of History Ireland

I'm not saying these things didn't happen but its a very one sided look at what was going on I'd say.

Given the controversies surrounding the Goldenbridge Orphanage some years ago it emerged that different inmates remembered their stay their in different ways

- for some it was a nightmare

- for others a refuge (of sorts).

219 deaths in the Bethany Home between 1922-1949 (of which 19 were stillborns) - but how many passed through its doors in that time and what was the average infant mortality in the social classes from which these unfortunates came?
 
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Funny how little outrage there has been over this-must be something to do with the fact that the RC church were not involved.

Why are the survivors being excluded from RRB?
I read story yesterday and pretty much knew it was a P.ie story as it didn't have RC in it so then anti Catholic brigade on this site would say nothing.

Kinda like the Prod bishop in Germany and other abuse cases when they hide.
 

Nipper

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I read story yesterday and pretty much knew it was a P.ie story as it didn't have RC in it so then anti Catholic brigade on this site would say nothing.

Kinda like the Prod bishop in Germany and other abuse cases when they hide.


Maybe it's because we haven't had the RC nuts on telling is how it's all lies.

The truth is the state turned a blind eye to the plight of children in care.

Nothing has changed just HSE now sits between "service providers" and state.
 

Breadan O'Connor

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219 deaths in the Bethany Home between 1922-1949 (of which 19 were stillborns) - but how many passed through its doors in that time and what was the average infant mortality in the social classes from which these unfortunates came?

The RTE news report last night mentioned that the average number of inmates in the home at any one time was quite small. This suggests that the death rate was indeed out of the ordinary.

No link for that, RTE player isn't working for me.
 

Kilbarry

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Researcher Niall Meehan has found evidence that child inmates of the Bethany Home in Dublin died at the rate of one every three weeks in the period from 1935 to 1940.

Given the relatively small number of inmates this seems a horrifying death rate. RTÉ News: Death every 3 weeks at Bethany Home - research

The story is also headline news in today's Irish Daily Mail.

Apparently the state refused to send Catholic children to the institution because of concerns of neglect following a complaint but allowed the home to continue to take Protestant children.

Survivors are demanding compensation under the state's redress scheme for survivors of institutional abuse.
As others have pointed out, it would be interesting to know how this compares with the child death rate in the general population during the 1930s. There were seven children born in my family from 1950 on - a somewhat more prosperous period. Two died very young. Two others had a fairly serious accident/illness before or during teenage years. If things had gone very badly the death rate could have been over 50%!

I note that no-one is claiming that the children were deliberately killed - presumably because this was a Protestant institution. When deaths of children in Artane and Letterfrack were being discussed in the media a few years ago the story was VERY different.
Christian Brothers, Child Killing Allegations, Letter to Sunday Tribune
 

Kilbarry

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As others have pointed out, it would be interesting to know how this compares with the child death rate in the general population during the 1930s. There were seven children born in my family from 1950 on - a somewhat more prosperous period. Two died very young. Two others had a fairly serious accident/illness before or during teenage years. If things had gone very badly the death rate could have been over 50%!

I note that no-one is claiming that the children were deliberately killed - presumably because this was a Protestant institution. When deaths of children in Artane and Letterfrack were being discussed in the media a few years ago the story was VERY different.
Christian Brothers, Child Killing Allegations, Letter to Sunday Tribune
Not to mention the allegation of child killing in Goldenbridge (Sisters of Mercy)!
Sister Xavieria, Sisters of Mercy, "Child Killing" in Goldenbridge
 

SirHenryGrattan

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When will the penny drop? There is little public interest in child abuse or empathy with child abuse victims anywhere in the world. The abuse heaped on the RCC is being meted out by people with other axes to grind. If the Pope changed his mind and dropped RCC opposition to abortion, contraception, women priests and introduced his boyfriend to the world then 99% of the hostility we see in the media would evaporate and the Pope would be welcomed with open arms by the secular media.
 

johnfás

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Just read that Article in the latest edition of History Ireland

I'm not saying these things didn't happen but its a very one sided look at what was going on I'd say.

Given the controversies surrounding the Goldenbridge Orphanage some years ago it emerged that different inmates remembered their stay their in different ways

- for some it was a nightmare

- for others a refuge (of sorts).

219 deaths in the Bethany Home between 1922-1949 (of which 19 were stillborns) - but how many passed through its doors in that time and what was the average infant mortality in the social classes from which these unfortunates came?
Would also be interesting to read a study of the effect of tuberculosis on orphanages during the period.
 

Catalpa

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Would also be interesting to read a study of the effect of tuberculosis on orphanages during the period.
Indeed - mortality rates were a lot higher back then and the lower down the social scale you went the the higher they would be.

For these unwanted kids that would be even higher again with them at the 'wrong end of the food chain' - perhaps sometimes literally so.
 

HMprison

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Researcher Niall Meehan has found evidence that child inmates of the Bethany Home in Dublin died at the rate of one every three weeks in the period from 1935 to 1940.

Given the relatively small number of inmates this seems a horrifying death rate. RTÉ News: Death every 3 weeks at Bethany Home - research

The story is also headline news in today's Irish Daily Mail.

Apparently the state refused to send Catholic children to the institution because of concerns of neglect following a complaint but allowed the home to continue to take Protestant children.

Survivors are demanding compensation under the state's redress scheme for survivors of institutional abuse.
Who is this Niall Meehan fellow anyway?

He's in no position to act as State Pathologist 70 to 75 years after some alleged event.

Sounds like he has an axe to grind. That and a third-rate academic.
 

johnfás

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Who is this Niall Meehan fellow anyway?

He's in no position to act as State Pathologist 70 to 75 years after some alleged event.

Sounds like he has an axe to grind. That and a third-rate academic.
He's head of journalism at Griffith College. Prominent member(?) of Sinn Féin and generator of controversy at various times of his career. College fails to address Sinn Fein influences - Analysis, Opinion - Independent.ie

I don't think we should brush aside Meehan's research. The point is simply that his research appears to be purely statistical and he hasn't made any great attempt, or at least published any attempts, to work out what people were dying from and importantly, as Cato outlines above, how this situation compares to any other similar institution in Ireland at the time or in respect of infant mortality rates at that time for people of lower socio-economic classes.

As I outlined above, disease outbreak is also an important concern. If you had 30 babies in an institution and TB broke out, they could all be dead within a couple of weeks during that period in Irish history.

The figures are stark, but they're stark in a particular context and more has got to be done to understand that context if this information is to be presented in an intellectually honest manner. That work has not been done thus far.
 

Newsy

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The State is claiming that children were put in the home in a voluntary capacity(presumably not put there by the courts). However Niall Meehan has found evidence that in 1945 the state did designate the home as a place of detention for female Protestant young persons and children.

The Irish Daily Mail reports that children in the home suffered from marasmus, which is a polite word for starvation.
The Bethany Home was run by evangelical members of the Church of Ireland but had no formal connection with that church. It operated at Blackhall Place in Dublin from 1921-34 and at Orwell Road, Rathgar, until it closed in 1972.

It was also a place of detention for women convicted of petty theft, prostitution, infanticide and birth concealment. In 1935-36 the home was required to register child mortality, under the Maternity Act of 1934.
Graves of Bethany children 'located at Mount Jerome' - Dublin IR Metro, DUB Local News - Fwix

Who funded Betheny Home?? The State???
 

Breadan O'Connor

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As others have pointed out, it would be interesting to know how this compares with the child death rate in the general population during the 1930s.

Meehan claims that 54 children died from convulsions, 41 from heart failure, 19 still born and 26 from marasmus. More Bethany graves found - The Irish Times - Fri, Sep 10, 2010

Now marasmus is another word for starvation. I know things were grim in the 30s and 40s but to my mind the fact of children dying of starvation indicates criminal neglect at least. There should have been enough resources to allow a basic level of nutrition for those children at that stage in Ireland.
 

Abaddon

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Now marasmus is another word for starvation. I know things were grim in the 30s and 40s but to my mind the fact of children dying of starvation indicates criminal neglect at least. There should have been enough resources to allow a basic level of nutrition for those children at that stage in Ireland.
What's worse is that no one will ever face justice for this gross neglect. How anyone responsible for these children could allow them to starve is just inhuman. We lock up parents for this today. As a parent this just sickens me to the core.
 


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