Sunday 24 September 2017

Abuse survivors angered over permanent location for healing stone

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

THE healing stone unveiled as part of the opening ceremony of the International Eucharistic Congress is to be given a permanent home in Lough Derg.

But abuse survivors remain angry at whether it is appropriate to place the stone on the banks of the Co Donegal lough.

The stone is made of Wicklow granite and is inscribed with the words of a prayer composed by a survivor of clerical abuse.

Michael O'Brien, of the Right to Peace group, questioned the convenience for survivors in having the stone in Lough Derg.

"So every survivor has to go to Lough Derg to see it. They want everybody in Ireland to go to Lough Derg so you can pray in the church as well," he said.

John Kelly of the Survivors of Child Abuse (SOCA) group said the stone should be "shipped out to the Vatican". "They're the ones who need healing," Mr Kelly said.

Maeve Lewis, representing the One in Four support group, said they were also not consulted.

Asked if abuse survivors were contacted in connection with housing the stone in Lough Derg, Eucharistic Congress general secretary, Fr Kevin Doran, said consultations were held with a "a number of individuals who would be well known". However, he declined to give any names.

Fr Doran said Lough Derg was an appropriate site because of the penitential history of the location and because of the pilgrimage by papal legate Cardinal Marc Ouellet.

"You can have a stone in a public place like St Stephen's Green and people can walk past it everyday without seeing it," he said.

Irish Independent

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