Deputy Connolly fully supports the call from survivors and their families that they be placed at the heart of any consultation process in relation to the development of the former industrial school at Lenaboy, Taylor’s Hill.
Furthermore, the request by ‘The West of Ireland Centre for Survivors and their Families’ that the building be used as a centre for healing, arts, education and an historical/memorial and archival space must be central to that process.
In this regard Deputy Connolly has said she had contacted the City Manager and a preliminary meeting has been agreed for Friday, 10th November.
Deputy Connolly said she would hope that this would be the first step in a meaningful conversation with survivors and their families as to the best use of the building given its history.
Indeed in order to make some redress for the suffering of the children who were there, this building was part of the settlement reached in 2009 following the Ryan Report. The Sisters of Mercy, who ran the industrial school, identified Lenaboy as a property to be transferred by way of a contribution towards the costs incurred by the state in responding to residential child abuse.
That it has remained empty since 2009 is shocking and regrettably no explanation has ever been given for that. The recent completion of negotiations between the Council and the Sisters of Mercy is merely the culmination of that process.
Moreover, the Council’s proposal to redevelop Lenaboy as a children and young people’s creative and cultural hub without consultation with survivors beggars belief given the history of the building and the purpose of the transfer.