herald

Saturday 24 August 2019

Anger as luxury flats in former kids' home named 'Orphanage'

Clinical trials were carried out on young children in The Bird’s Nest in the 1960s and 1970s
Clinical trials were carried out on young children in The Bird’s Nest in the 1960s and 1970s

A former resident of a Dun Laoghaire children's home has blasted "tone deaf" developers after the site was made a luxury co-living space - called The Orphanage.

Beth Wallace (50) spent the first two years of her life in and out of the care of the original institution, known as The Bird's Nest, on York Road.

She was sickened when she heard the new name.

Punched

"I'm horrified by the level of insensitivity," she told the Herald.

"I actually feel like I've been punched in the stomach. It feels like they are capitalising on something that affected the lives of hundreds of people.

"I don't understand how something so grossly offensive can be justified."

The property operated as an orphanage from 1859 to 1977 and was one of several institutions revealed to have been involved in clinical trials carried out on babies and young children in the 1960s and 1970s.

A spokesperson for the development said the name had been chosen to reflect the history of the building and because "when you are there it will become your adopted home".

Beth, now based in Cork, was born in a mother and baby home and then moved to The Bird's Nest.

"Those first years are a formative time of life when you look for a secure attachment that will affect the rest of your life. I didn't have that safe place," she said.

‘The Orphanage’ in Dun Laoghaire was a home for children, known as The Bird’s Nest, from 1859 up until 1977
‘The Orphanage’ in Dun Laoghaire was a home for children, known as The Bird’s Nest, from 1859 up until 1977

"People who have no experience of institutions want to believe it's all warm and fluffy, that it's a 'home', but the people who lived there know what it was like.

"There were bars on the windows. It was like prison for children who were carrying the sins of their parents."

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