By Edel O'Connell
Saturday July 21 2012
A NEW memorial for victims of abuse in religious institutions has been given the go-ahead in the centre of Dublin.
The 'Journey of Light' memorial to victims of abuse will be built in Parnell Square at the rear of the Garden of Remembrance to Ireland's heroes in the fight for freedom.
The €500,000 monument is a lighted walkway and trees at the rear of the garden and is close to the Rotunda Hospital.
The project was recommended three years ago in the Ryan Report and was endorsed by the Dail.
The winner was chosen by a 10-strong jury, which included two survivors of abuse.
Dublin architectural firm Studio Negri and the Waterford Partnership Hennessy & Associates were awarded the commission for their entry 'Journey of Light'.
The Office of Public works (OPW) will apply for planning permission to develop the site, which is currently a grass mound, in September. Once that process is complete the contract for constructing the memorial will be put to tender.
A spokesperson for the OPW said that it was hoped that construction could begin in early 2013 but was dependant on the planning process.
The winning design was unveiled yesterday by Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn.
Mr Quinn said he hoped it would serve as a constant reminder that society must never let such horrendous crimes happen again and of the need to strive to protect all children here.
Victim support group SOCCA has criticised the project as premature, saying the religious orders had not paid their fair share of the State's €1.3bn redress bill.
Spokesman John Kelly said he could not look at such a memorial as long as the "survivors of Magdalene laundries and the Protestant Bethany Home were not compensated by church or State".
The minister also criticised a resistance by religious congregations to provide compensation to victims of institutional abuse.
He said it was not his intention to "bankrupt" the religious teaching institutions but the pace at which congregations were signing up to a 50-50 contribution with the State in compensating abuse victims was "very unsatisfactory".
- Edel O'Connell