By Niall Murray, Education Correspondent
Thursday, December 29, 2011

DETAILS of the planned €500,000 memorial to victims of institutional child abuse will be announced next summer more than three years after it was proposed.
However, the location has yet to be confirmed and the expected date for completion is not yet available as it depends on the design.

The May 2009 report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, chaired by Mr Justice Sean Ryan, recommended that a permanent memorial be erected. It is to include the wording of the 1999 apology by then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on behalf of the State for the suffering of those who were abused while in its care.

The committee to oversee the erection of the memorial was announced by then education minister Batt O’Keeffe in October 2009. The Office of Public Works (OPW) was asked to commission and deliver it with a €500,000 budget set aside.

The committee launched a design competition last July after consulting interested parties and survivor groups on the location and nature of the memorial.

A shortlist of six competitors has now been selected by an international jury of:

* Marta Santos Pais, special representative of the UN secretary-general on violence against children.

* Brian O’Doherty, sculptor and film-maker based in New York.

* Pat Cooney, OPW principal architect, and

* Vivienne Roche, co-founder of the National Sculpture Factory, Cork.

The Department of Education said yesterday that the committee expects to announce the competition winner next June.

The memorial committee is chaired by former OPW chairman Sean Benton. The other members are: Bernadette Fahy and Paddy Doyle representing survivors of abuse, Seán Ó Laoire of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, Monica Corcoran of the Arts Council and former Cork county architect Billy Houlihan.

The child abuse commission’s costs could reach €100 million after the finalisation of all legal costs of third parties which were represented in its investigations and hearings. The final bill to the State of compensating those abused while in institutional care as children is set to top €1.1 billion, with almost 13,500 awards made to the end of 2010.