Postpone the State monument for victims of abuse, Ireland
NOT THE RIGHT TIME FOR A STATE MONUMENT/MEMORIAL
The chosen design for the Government/Irish State memorial as recommended in the Ryan Report - Commission to enquire into child abuse in Residential Schools has been announced. The design titled 'Journey of Light' by Studio Negri and Hennessy and Associates lodged their planning application at Dublin City Council last Thursday (18th Oct 2012). This premature gesture, in the form of a memorial/monument is more of a crushing blow to truth, transparency and justice than any of the horrendous testimonies contained in the Ryan Report itself. This pseudo attempt by the State/Government of the Republic of Ireland to address the issues of torture and inhumane treatment of children in its care is an outrage in itself and an insult to those who are continuing to struggle for justice and accountability for the many crimes committed against them in State sanctioned and religous run institutions on the Island of Ireland.
This week the First Minister and deputy First Minster of Northern Ireland extended the terms for the inquiry into historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995. This is a Statutory Inquiry. Many such inquiries have yet to be established throughout the length and breath of Ireland in every parish to uncover the truth of what happened to generations of children at the hands of the most trusted. The more difficult issues of responsibility, accountability and securing justice for the abused still appear to be a long way off. Justice is still being denied to thousands of individuals who were brutalised in institutions in the Irish Republic and few of those who did the brutalising have had to face any consequences for their behaviour. While these core matters remain unresolved, erecting this memorial is premature, a folly built on sand.
Memorials are about the past and the issues of physical, emotional and sexual abuse in Irish institutions are not yet historical. Certainly not for the women forced to toil in the Magdalene Laundries, nor for the children of the Bethany homes, Mother and baby homes, the trafficked children or those abused in day-schools,or the most recent report into the child prison, St Patricks Institution Dublin, none of whom have yet had the wrongs done to them acknowledged, heard or redressed. Until their stories are heard and honoured, erecting a 'monument' is, at the very least, insensitive. Doubly so when it is sponsored by the same State which was a co-accused and a guilty party to their abuse. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/the-indemnity-deal-at-a-glance-1747692.html
The time to memorialise an issue like this is only when all that can be put right has been put right. That time is not yet here.
What can you do?
Write to Dublin City Council Planning Department and raise your objections to this obstacle to justice, truth and exclusion. The web reference on Dublin City Council website is web1196/12 Email your objections to Planning@dublincity.ie
(please sign the petition and forward it to friends)
The motion below was passed in Dublin City Council at the Monthly Meeting (Feb 2012)
“That Dublin City Council calls on the government to begin the process to expunge the criminal records of all individuals convicted and detained as minors within residential institutions as defined by the commission to inquire into child abuse in residential institutions and further, that it calls on the present government to fast track the legislative framework. Thousands of children were criminalised by courts throughout the Republic of Ireland. In many cases these children had no legal representation and never received due process and were subsequently incarcerated for many years in what’s now known as Irelands Residential Institutions. In keeping with righting these grave injustices, I believe it is now time to begin the process of removing these child criminal records. This act would be a far more fitting tribute of acknowledgment of the wrongs and damage done to tens of thousands of Irish citizens than the proposed monument to ‘victims’ of residential institutional abuse as proposed by the present Government”