At a speech in Maynooth University, founder of GCN and longtime LGBT activist Tonie Walsh called on the government to build an Irish AIDS Memorial.
Walsh’s speech took place at an event called ‘AIDS & Irish Media: Narratives of Shame and Stigma’, which is part of the Project for Emerging Voices and Hidden Histories.
“For men and women of my generation, we must collect our tears and build from them a memorial – a physical totem – to the destruction and loss from AIDS in Ireland,” Walsh said. “This memorial will begin the ritual work of reconciliation and awareness that is so important to developing a more holistic HIV health education culture, so crucial to burying those last remaining vestiges of shame, guilt and trauma.
“I’m calling on the government to build that memorial – not down some side street or suburban square. I want the Irish AIDS Memorial on Parnell Square, on the grass margins between the Gate Theatre and the Garden of Remembrance.
“I might settle for Merrion Square, on the west side facing Leinster House, to remind the Dáil of its lack of purpose and shabby neglect as our brothers and sisters died throughout the 1980s and 1990s.”
Walsh asked the assembled audience to join him in making the Irish AIDS memorial a reality. He told The Outmost he intends “launching a campaign in 2016 about the type of memorial we think is fitting.”