Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Abuse victims propose that funds for monument go to Haiti survivors

Survivors of institutional child abuse want €500,000 - which has been earmarked for a monument to victims - to be given to survivors of the Haiti earthquake.

The proposal was made to Taoiseach Brian Cowen in a meeting last Friday with two of the main groups representing victims.

Michael O’Brien of Right of Place, who met Cowen in Clonmel, said that the direct aid gesture would ‘‘genuinely mean more to victims of clerical abuse than a piece of stone on O’Connell Street’’.

The erection of a monument to survivors of abuse was one of the proposals in the Ryan Report into the abuse of children in state-run institutions.

The government established a committee last October to consider the location and nature of the memorial, which was to include the 1999 apology to abuse victims by former taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Cowen told the groups that the government would consider the proposal.

If it is accepted, it would raise the national contribution to Haitian aid to €22.5 million.

The government last week also sent an 80-tonne consignment of supplies to Haiti.

As well as the official state contribution, Irish charities have raised millions of euro for Haiti, with contributions from businesses and members of the public.

The United Nations has appealed for more than €400million to fund the enormous relief operation under way in Haiti, where millions of people are homeless.

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