Planning hearing on abuse memorial begins

Bord Pleanála will hear appeal against siting of new monument in Garden of Remembrance

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. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

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. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 


An appeal against plans to build a memorial to victims of institutional abuse in the Garden of Remembrance on Dublin’s Parnell Square will be heard by An Bord Pleanála today. The application by the Commissioner of Public Works to build the monument was approved by Dublin City Council last May despite several objections including one from an abuse survivors’ support group.

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 put up behind 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 2,140sq m site.

A number of parties, including Irish Survivors of Child Abuse and former industrial school resident and Independent city councillor Mannix Flynn, have objected to the proposal on the grounds that it interfered with the existing memorial to those who died fighting for Irish freedom and that the association between the two memorials was inappropriate.


Objections
Others, including the Irish Georgian Society, objected to the effect the proposal would have on the structure and character of the historic 18th century square. Objectors emphasised that they were not opposing a memorial to abuse victims but that the site and the interventions in the garden, including tunnelling, were wrong. However, the council planners said the location for the memorial was a matter for the Government. The zoning of the gardens would “facilitate a memorial of this nature in principle” and the work would improve access to the gardens, the planning department said.

The Journey of Light was chosen in July last year as the memorial for abuse victims by a committee set up by the Department of Education following a year-long design competition. If it secures planning permission it is expected to take two years to build.