Memorial for institutional abuse victims gets go-ahead

A planned €500,000 memorial to victims of institutional child abuse in Dublin city centre has moved a step closer.

Dublin City Council has given its approval for the Journey of Light project, which will require temporary movement of the 11-tonne, Children of Lir sculpture in the Garden of Remembrance to the rear of the proposed memorial. This will facilitate construction of a walkway through the podium beneath it to connect the two public memorials, which are accessed from alternate sides of Parnell Square just above the northern end of O’Connell Street.

The design features a water feature on either side of the walkway, seating and night-time lighting.

The €500,000 project was the subject of a design competition run by the Department of Education and judged by a panel that included representatives of institutional abuse victims.

However, there were many objections, some claiming the location would diminish the significance of the Garden of Remembrance which opened in the 1960s to commemorate those who died in the cause of Irish freedom.

The abuse memorial was recommended in the Ryan report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, published four years ago. It will feature the text of former taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s apology on behalf of the State to victims, to be inscribed along the walls of the walkway.

The conditions include many of a conservation nature, and a stipulation that any archaeological evidence of the pre-existing Chinese Gardens that were located in the area should be recorded and documented.

The Office of Public Works said it did not wish to comment on the timescale of any work beginning until the project clears the planning process.


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