Monday 23 October 2017

Memorial to victims of abuse rejected on appeal

A sketch of the €500,000 ‘Journey of Light’ memorial
A sketch of the €500,000 ‘Journey of Light’ memorial
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

A COMMITTEE behind plans for a memorial to victims of child abuse will meet today to consider the future of the project, after it was rejected by planners.

An Bord Pleanala refused permission for the memorial in Dublin's Garden of Remembrance because it would have an "adverse impact" on the Garden, a monument which honours the struggle for independence.

Permission was granted for the €500,000 "Journey of Light" memorial by Dublin City Council last May, but appealed to the board.

The design was chosen by a Government-appointed committee following a recommendation contained in the Ryan Report, more formally known as The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

Committee member Bernadette Fahy, who represented victims' groups, said: "Despite all the effort of the last four years, I'm very disappointed for the survivors who were supportive of it.

APOLOGY

"My personal view was this was the perfect location because it's used for ceremonial occasions so it would always be seen, and what happened to me and others would never be forgotten."

The committee, which includes former chair of the OPW Sean Benton, architects, artists and a special representative from the UN, Marta Santos Pais, will now meet in the Department of Education today to discuss the next steps.

The 'Journey into Light' memorial designed by Dublin-based Studio Negri with Hennessy & Associates, involved building a tunnel in the wall behind the Children of Lir statue to create a new entrance from Parnell Street.

The tunnel would be lit at night, with the State's apology to abuse victims inscribed.

Objectors included the Irish Georgian Society, Irish Survivors of Child Abuse and Dublin city councillor Mannix Flynn, who also suffered abuse.

Mr Flynn told the Irish Independent that a memorial was "premature", adding: "This was not going to make any child safer, or advance child protection. We need truth and not memorials at this point."

Irish Independent

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