Thousands expected at solidarity event in Dublin for victims of clerical abuse

Stand for Truth rally will begin on Sunday at same time as papal Mass

Thousands of people are set to gather in solidarity with victims of clerical abuse at the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square in Dublin on Sunday at the same time Pope Francis is due to begin mass at the Phoenix Park.

The Stand for Truth rally starts at 3pm and organisers say it is for anyone who has “been harmed or abused by the Roman Catholic Church or who wishes to stand in solidarity with those harmed by its actions”.

The event will include performances from Hozier, Mary Black, Roisin O from Thanks Brother and Liam Ó Maonlaí. There will also be spoken word performances by theatre director Grace Dyas, poet Sarah Clancy and executive director of Amnesty, Colm O’Gorman.

Those gathered will then walk silently to the site of a former Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott Street. They will be able to leave messages of support there, the focus of which will be a commissioned art piece by artist Will St Leger.



Organisers say the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland will be “full of pageantry and symbolism”.

“A visit that has deep meaning for many people of faith. But the Pope will arrive in a very different Ireland to the one Pope John Paul II visited in 1979,” a statement from organisers said.

“Decades of revelation and investigation, forced by the courageous action of those abused by the crimes and cover ups of the Roman Catholic Church, have transformed Ireland’s relationship with the institutions of that church.”

Mr O’Gorman, an organiser of the event, said “we will not allow the victims of the church’s brutal history to be marginalised”.

“We cannot stay silent as the Vatican uses its power and pomp to forcefully deny the reality of the harm it has done,” he said.

“This week Pope Francis has begged for forgiveness, but it isn’t at all clear what he wants forgiveness for. At no point has Pope Francis or any of his predecessors admitted or taken any responsibility for the deliberate policy of cover-up by the Vatican across the global church.”

Baby boots

Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (SAVIA) Northern Ireland are due to meet at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral on Marlborough Street at 2pm on Sunday, where they will hang baby boots from ribbon outside, before walking to the rally at the Garden of Remembrance.

We Are Church Ireland, a group of concerned Irish Catholics who seek the full participation of women in all aspects of church life, will be standing on the Halfpenny Bridge at 9.30am on Saturday displaying rainbow umbrellas along with purple umbrellas with ‘women priests’ printed on them.

The group is also calling on its members to wear a blue ribbon for the week, as a symbol of support for victims of clerical abuse.

A public meeting entitled ‘A Message for the Pope: We are going to separate Church & State’ will take place at the Gresham Hotel at 6pm on Saturday. Organised by People Before Profit (PBP), speakers include Vincent Browne, Eamon McCann and Clodagh Malone, a survivor of a mother-and-baby home.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times