Derek Leinster: 'I want to be treated not one jot differently being an Irish person than if I had been a Catholic Irish person'

A former resident of a Protestant children's home in Dublin is preparing to launch a High Court challenge to force the government to include it in the state redress scheme for victims of institutional abuse.

If successful, this could leave the state facing a potential multimillion euro additional compensation bill.

Derek Leinster was born in Bethany Home in Rathgar in 1941 after his 16-year-old Protestant mother was sent there for what he calls the "social sin" of becoming pregnant out of wedlock with the child of a Catholic man.

He left school illiterate at the age of 13 after being beaten and molested by his foster parents in Wicklow, before moving to the UK where he subsequently married and settled down.

However, despite attempts to have his case placed within the terms of the redress scheme, he claims the government and Church of Ireland authorities have resisted such moves.

As a result, Leinster told the Sunday Tribune he is considering launching a legal challenge to force the government to include Bethany Home on the list of homes covered by the residential redress board, and to establish the best route to pursue in order to get the compensation he and others deserve.

He said he is aware of at least 12 other former residents of the home, based in Ireland, the UK and the US, who are still alive.

However, he estimates there are potentially hundreds of others who may be entitled to compensation for the care they received at Bethany Home.

"First and foremost I am an Irish person. I want to be treated not one jot differently being an Irish person than if I had been a Catholic Irish person," he said. "It was a toss of the coin that I ended up in Bethany Home, I could have easily have been sent to Artane, for example. If I had been, I would have been entitled to redress."

"I believe without doubt that it is sectarianism ... particularly in light of the Ryan Commission report findings, I just can't believe this is still going on in this day and age."

Leinster has previously called on the Church of Ireland, including Archbishop of Dublin John Neill, to support his calls for Bethany Home to be included in the redress scheme.

A spokesman for Archbishop Neill said that Church of Ireland authorities have contacted the redress board in recent months to draw their attention to the issues raised by Derek Leinster."

A spokeswoman for the redress board declined to comment.