Friday 23 August 2019

Owners of The Orphanage co-living accommodation apologise for 'insensitive' name

The entrance to The Orphanage in York Road, Dún Laoghaire
The entrance to The Orphanage in York Road, Dún Laoghaire

Niamh Lynch

THE owners of a former children's home that was redeveloped as luxury co-living accommodation called 'The Orphanage' have apologised and promised to change the name.

News of the development at the former Bird's Nest children's home on York Road in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, was widely criticised as ‘tone deaf’ and ‘provocative’.

The property was used as an orphanage from 1859 and 1977, it later emerged that it was one of several institutions where clinical trials were carried out on babies and young children in the 1960s and 1970s.

The owners of The Orphanage have said they plan to change the name of the development following the criticism.

The former ‘Birds Nest' Orphanage
The former ‘Birds Nest' Orphanage

They told the Irish Times: “We would like to sincerely apologise for naming the building the Orphanage. We deeply regret offending anyone, and particularly those with close connections to the Bird’s Nest.

“It was a ‘tone deaf’ decision, as rightly pointed out by Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance. We are changing the name of the building. In this regard we once again regret any distress or hurt caused.”

Brady and McCarthy Letting Agents, who represent the owners, did not respond to requests for comment from Independent.ie.

Independent Senator Victor Boyhan, a former councillor for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, was one of those who condemned the name.

He told Independent.ie: “At a minimum, it’s provocative - it’s written across the door ‘The Bird’s Nest’.

“Was it a publicity stunt? Maybe.

“I don’t see why they’d call it The Orphanage. I don’t know how they didn’t see it as an insensitive action. I don’t see the logistics of it from a marketing view.”

The listings for the “suites” have been removed from various rental websites.

It had been advertised as four suites with “indoor and outdoor shared spaces” that were available to rent for up to €1,500 per month.

A spokesperson for the owner previously told the Irish Times that the suites reflected “the history that was there” and that “when you are there, it will become your adopted home”.

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