The Irish Government have now announced the winning design for the proposed memorial to victims of abuse (as recommended in the Ryan Report - Commission to enquire into child abuse in Residential Schools). However, 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 a 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 or those abused in day-schools, 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
To proceed with a State sanctioned monument at this point would seriously undermine the unresolved issues as described above and give comfort to unaccountability and evasion of truth by the perpetrators and the organisations that need to be held accountable in Irish society. Ireland needs to set a global example in the resolving of this traumatic issue.
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.
This monument/memorial, at this time, is a boulder, an impasse, a vehicle that will be used as closure by many who wish to evade justice and truth. In effect, this whole enterprise is a further continuation of the abuses, in that it betrays the possibility of genuine remorse and accountability rather than give inclusion to the many hundreds of thousands of individuals throughout the world who suffered childhood trauma throughout their lives as a result of abuse.
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