A memorial for the victims of institutional abuse in Ireland was proposed by Justice Sean Ryan as part of the May 2009 report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. Now, details for the €500,000 memorial are planned to be released next summer.
The Irish Examiner reports that as part of his recommendation, Justice Ryan asked that the 1999 apology from then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern be inscribed in the memorial. In his apology, Ahern offered condolences to those who were abused while in the care of the State.
In October 2009, only a few months after Justice Ryan’s report, a committee was announced by the then Minister of Education, Batt O’Keefe, to oversee the construction of the memorial. The Office of Public Works (OPW) was asked to commission and deliver it with a €500,000 budget set aside, reports The Irish Examiner.
The memorial committee, chaired by former OPW chairman Sean Benton, is comprised of abuse representatives and those with architectural backgrounds. Included on the committee 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.
After consulting with interested parties and abuse survivors about the design, location, and nature of the planned memorial, a design competition was launched this past July. An international jury selected a shortlist of six contenders for the final design of the anticipated memorial.
Serving on the jury to decide are 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.
Just yesterday, the Department of Education said that they expect to have a final winner chosen to design the memorial by June of 2012, just more than three years after the initial recommendation was made.
The costs for the new project could well reach €100 million, wrote The Irish Examiner, after the finalisation of all legal costs of third parties who were represented in its investigations and hearings. The State’s bill of compensation to those victims of institutional abuse is set to hit €1.1 billion, with almost 13,500 awards made to the end of 2010.