An Bord Pleanála hearing on abuse memorial opens

Journey of Light memorial planned for Garden of Remembrance

The Journey of Light memorial, designed by Dublin-based Studio Negri with  Hennessy & Associates.

The Journey of Light memorial, designed by Dublin-based Studio Negri with Hennessy & Associates.

Wed, Sep 25, 2013, 14:15

The memorial to victims of institutional abuse proposed for the Garden of Remembrance on Dublin’s Parnell Square will be a place to “mourn the pain” of victims, a Bord Pleanála hearing has been told.

The application by the Office of Public Works (OPW) to build the memorial was approved by Dublin City Council last May despite several objections including one from an abuse survivors’ support group. The decision was appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

Speaking on behalf of the OPW Bernadette Fahy, a former resident of Goldenbridge Industrial School who was on the committee which chose the memorial, said a number of abuse survivors who had opposed the idea of the memorial had become “extremely positive” about the design chosen.

The creation of the monument would ensure “the pain and suffering of children being memorialised should ever happen again,” Ms Fahy told the appeal hearing.

The €500,000 Journey of Light memorial, designed by Dublin-based studio Negri with Hennessy & Associates, features a covered passageway, lit at night and flanked by fossilised limestone walls and waterfalls. It would be inserted to the rear of Oisín Kelly’s Children of Lir monument commemorating the 1916 Rising, and would be in line with the Irish flag, with the State apology to abuse victims inscribed at child’s eye level.

The proposal also provides for a gated opening in the railings along Parnell Square West to access the memorial and new service access gates to Parnell Square North on a 2,140 sq m site.

Designer Andre Negri told the hearing the choice of location next to the 1916 monument was “an ethical and poignant link to the sacred ground of the State and a constant reminder that the abuse of our children must never happen again.”

The hearing is scheduled to last two days and will later hear from those opposing the siting of the memorial in the square, including former industrial school resident, Independent city councillor Mannix Flynn.