Irish children’s home survivor gets a step closer to justice

Derek Linster has written two books about his experiences.

Derek Linster has written two books about his experiences.

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After 17 years of campaigning, a man who suffered years of abuse in a children’s home is one step closer to having his case heard in court.

Derek Linster, 75, is a survivor of the Bethany Home in Dublin, where he was subjected to terrible conditions for the first four years of his life.

He now lives in the Overslade area of Rugby and is still seeking justice from the Irish government.

Following many years of campaigning, Derek finally found a solicitor willing to send a submission to the European Court of Human Rights on his behalf - which they did last week.

Speaking to the Advertiser, he said: “This is a groundbreaking achievement.

“What the Irish government has got away with up to this point is unbelievable. The people in that home were watching me die. When doctors were eventually called, they couldn’t believe the state I was in.

“Getting the submission sent to the Court of Human Rights is the biggest breakthrough we’ve had so far.”

In 2014, Derek oversaw the erection of a memorial in Mount Jerome cemetery, Dublin, commemorating the lives of 227 children from Bethany Home who were buried in unmarked graves.

He also published two books - Hannah’s Shame and Destiny Unknown - which put his eventful life in print.

Derek added that he believes survivors at Bethany - a Protestant institution - were ignored by Irish state investigations into children’s homes due to long-standing religious tensions in Ireland.

He said: “For those few Protestant survivors who are left and are still alive, I want them to see justice done.

“People keep offering me sympathy but that’s not what I want. I want my day in court.

“We have been ignored for far too long. We need justice and we need results.”

For more on Derek’s story, visit: www.derekleinster.com