Today, I will attend an oral hearing at An Bord Pleanála to raise my objections to the granted planning for a National memorial to victims of abuse at the site of the Garden of Remembrance. This whole proposal is preposterous. Nobody has been called to account, nobody has faced any criminal charges, the full extent of the abuse and all its implications is still unknown. Many are not included in this memorial – like the Magdalene women, the Mother and baby homes, the banished babies, the Bethany home, or the tens of thousands and generations of children who were savagely abused and traumatized in State schools through out Ireland. The issue has now taken on a global significance and at the centre of those inquiries in Northern Ireland, Australia, America (North and South), Germany, Canada, Poland and the UK to name but a few, is the Irish Catholic church and Irish congregations of religious. The exact same modus operandi so evident in Ireland and so expertly executed by the Church and its agents is evident in all the investigations. These investigations are leading back to Ireland sometime in the future. What do we do then for the global, tens of thousands abused by Irish priests, religious brothers and nuns?
The hollow words of the former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, are to be inscribed upon this memorial walls. The same Taoiseach who indemnified those responsible for the abuses, the State and the Church. Now Minister Quinn, the Minister for Education, wants to press forward with this proposal. The very Department that he represents were the main instigator in processing tens of thousands of children into the hell holes of institutions that cut short their childhoods and stunted their lives to this day. Truth is what heals and lasts. Not memorials that are designed to close down, cut short and rob those that have experienced abuse of a chance of a hearing and a hope of justice. If any memorial should be struck it should be by the public by a public subscription after all of the issues have been unearthed and addressed. To place this memorial of shame in the Garden of Remembrance is an absolute insult to the men and women who struggled and fought for justice and Irish freedom for generations, many of them giving their lives to that cause never seeing the State or Freedom emerging. To associate the honorable dead at this site with this proposed memorial to those that were horrendously abused by the State and the Catholic Church would be gross in the extreme and a continuation of the vile abuses and disregard that was so evident in many of the States institutions.
Tomorrow, I would hope that those officers of An Bord Pleanála will reject this application and overturn Dublin City Councils decision to grant this memorial permission. It is too soon and will be an obstacle to truth as it will look as if this whole issue has been done and dusted, buried and a memorial stone stuck on its head, when in reality we have dealt with very little and have not established exactly what happened, why it happened and who was responsible. This issue for many is insult to injury and does not have the endorsement and support of the vast majority who suffered in the Institutions of the State. Please support this effort to stop this attempt to sabotage the emergence of truth. Indeed, the very idea that such a memorial to victims of abuse, perpetrated upon them by Church and State would be placed in such close proximity to Church and State symbols is in itself a traumatic. The cruciform walkway of the Garden of Remembrance and indeed the State symbols themselves are instruments of terror and fear to those who suffered horrendous trauma in their childhoods and carry that throughout their lives to this day. Any expression of monument should come from civil society rather than authority or State agencies that were so involved in all aspects of this shameless history.
Let the glorious dead who are completely innocent of the acts of the Irish State and Catholic church rest in peace without interference at this most sacred of memorial sites.