Tuesday 21 November 2017

Eamon Delaney: National volunteers' garden not the place for child abuse memorial

An artist’s impression of the memorial to victims of institutional abuse.
An artist’s impression of the memorial to victims of institutional abuse.
Eamon Delaney

Eamon Delaney

Many of us will express immense relief that an oversized memorial to victims of abuse is not to be constructed either inside or adjoining the city's Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square. The proposal was completely inappropriate and the surprise is that it was allowed to proceed in the first place, before the decision was rejected by An Bord Pleanala. The provocative plan also split opinion among representatives of abuse victims, many of whom felt that such a memorial was premature, when comp

All of us are for properly remembering the victims of state abuse, but this was not the way to do it. The Garden of Remembrance was specifically built to honour the memory of those who fought for Ireland's independence. It is built in a cruciform shape, with an enclosed pool depicting images from Irish history and a huge inspirational sculpture of the mythical Children of Lir. It is not a generalised remembrance garden for different groups in Irish society and history, but specifically to honour the militant Republican tradition.

Indeed, after years of neglect this garden is finally being treated properly -- it was last week host to a ceremony to mark the centenary of the Irish Volunteers -- and the whole of Parnell Square is getting a general uplift with a proposed new city library for the old Colaiste Mhuire building. It thus beggars belief that the Government could have given the go-ahead for a memorial, entitled The Journey of Light, that would have disrupted the whole point of the garden as well as destroying the architectural integrity of the garden, and square.

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