SURVIVORS in Britain have been urged to take part in a public consultation on how best to commemorate those who went through Ireland’s brutal mother and baby homes and industrial schools.
In March 2022 the Irish Government approved proposals for a National Centre for Research and Remembrance to be located at the site of the former Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott Street in Dublin.
“This Centre will stand as a site of conscience to honour equally all those who were resident in Industrial Schools, Magdalen Laundries, Mother and Baby and County Home Institutions, Reformatories, and related institutions,” they confirmed.
This month the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has issued a call to those living in Britain who were impacted by these institutions to have their say before the consultation period closes.
“The Government has opened this consultation to ensure that development of this centre is guided by the people most directly impacted,” the DFA states.
“Anyone who spent time in one of these institutions, as well as relatives and advocates of those who did, is invited to respond.
“Their voices are vitally important as feedback from this consultation will directly inform the ongoing work on the development of the centre.”
Although physically situated in Dublin, content from within the proposed National Centre will be accessible in other parts of Ireland, and abroad.
This will be made possible through the provision of digital access to some records and exhibits, the Government has confirmed.
“The National Centre will be a national institution, which achieves a global and national reach, as well as having strong connections to, and benefits for, the local community,” they add.
Once complete the Centre will feature a museum and exhibition space, a research centre and repository of records related to institutional trauma in the 20th century, and a garden space for reflection and remembrance.
In addition, social housing units, educational, family and parenting supports will also be constructed at the site in Dublin.
Work is already underway to progress the planning and development stages of the National Centre, with a steering group - chaired by Irish Ambassador to Britain, Martin Fraser - driving this.
“As part of its work, the steering group – on behalf of Government – is now inviting submissions from interested parties, to an initial, open consultation process,” the Government confirmed.
“This consultation will form an important part of the planning work for the project.”
The steering group is specifically seeking views on “the museum and exhibition space; the research centre and repository of records related to institutional trauma in the 20th century; and the space for reflection and remembrance”, they confirm.
The consultation period runs until September 15, 2023. To take part click here.