PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent
CO-OPERATION BY religious congregations in making a 50:50 contribution towards redress costs for abuse survivors incurred by the State has been “very slow” and “very unsatisfactory”, Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has said.
Of the 18 congregations concerned, only one had accepted the Ryan report recommendation that a 50:50 contribution by them was appropriate, he said.
He was speaking in Dublin yesterday at a press conference to announce the winner of a competition to provide a memorial to victims of institutional abuse. Such a memorial was recommended in the Ryan report, published in May 2009.
The cost to the State of redress for abuse survivors to date is €1.36 billion, with indications, as Mr Quinn said yesterday, that this could rise to €1.5 billion.
He had no “desire to bankrupt” the congregations, “all of which are ageing”, but noted that “they do have substantial health and educational structures” under their control.
Mr Quinn was accompanied by Minister of State for the Office of Public Works Brian Hayes at the announcement that Studio Negri and Hennessy and Associates had been awarded the commission to build their winning proposal, Journey of Light, at the Garden of Remembrance on Dublin’s Parnell Square.
Their memorial emphasised the link between the Garden of Remembrance, which commemorated those who died for the cause of Irish freedom, and a memorial dedicated to the young victims of abuse, they said.
Mr Quinn said it would mark “one of the darkest episodes in our nation’s history” and its location would provide “an enduring symbol to lost innocence” that he found personally very fitting and appropriate.
Mr Hayes described the memorial as a very important national project for our society and said its location “on hallowed ground” was significant.
He expected it would take two years to complete the project, at a cost of €500,000.
Paddy Doyle, who with Bernadette Fahy represented abuse survivors on the memorial committee, said he was very happy with the winning project “which we will have there in perpetuity so our children and grandchildren can see it”.
Christine Buckley of the Aislinn centre said she was also happy, not least because one of those who had designed the memorial was a South African who would have known the sort of apartheid that was the lot of abuse victims in Ireland for so long.
However, she said she would have preferred the memorial to be located on O’Connell Street.
Categories: Child Abuse