Wednesday 22 November 2017

Celebs join bid to halt 'insulting' memorial

Mark Hilliard

A CAMPAIGN to block an "offensive" €500,000 state memorial to victims of residential abuse has attracted a string of high-profile signatories.

Almost 300 people -- including Oscar-winning actress Brenda Fricker, historian Diarmaid Ferriter and Bruce Arnold, author of the industrial school critique 'The Irish Gulag' -- have lent their names to a petition to be handed to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Those behind the 'stop the memorial' campaign say the proposal is premature and insulting, considering that the fallout from revelations about clerical sex abuse is ongoing.

The state memorial plan follows a recommendation in the 2009 Ryan Report to erect a monument with the wording of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's apology in 1999.

The successful bid for the contract is due to be announced next month. It was commissioned for €500,000 by the Department of Education and administered by the Office of Public Works (OPW).

But UCD modern historian Diarmaid Ferriter said: "The idea of a monument might be good for people who want to draw a line under this -- but it's something of an insult too for those who are still dealing with the horrific things that have happened to them."

Neither the OPW nor the Department of Education would comment last night.

Irish Independent

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