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24th Aug 2018

‘Message to Pope Francis’ art installation erected at Temple Bar Tuam memorial

Jade Hayden

A new art installation has been erected at the Temple Bar Tuam memorial to challenge Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland this week.

The piece, called ‘A Message to Pope Francis’, is composed of nine panels across the Exchange Street site. They depict graphics and art pieces concerning child sex abuse within the church and the trauma that victims subsequently experience as they become adults.

The new temp piece has replaced the ‘Somebody’s Child’ artwork installation – a memorial for the 796 babies and children whose remains were discovered at the Tuam Mother and Baby Home site early last year.

Writing in a blog post, Dublin City councillor Mannix Flynn explained why he had the Mother and Baby Home memorial covered during the week.

There had been much confusion online concerning the status of the memorial, with many believing that it had been covered up deliberately ahead of the Pope’s visit.

Flynn said the new piece sends a “clear message” about the clerical abuse committed within the Catholic church.

He shared images of the new installation on his blog and encouraged people to “provoke the Pope and his followers in a nice way.”

“I appreciate the concerns of people who thought that someone was covering up ‘Somebody’s Child’ work and Disband the Artane Band panels,” he said, “but the person who took the image and put up the blog last night inciting people to tear down the protective netting never bothered to ask me, as I was on the site putting up the net, what was happening.”

Flynn experienced physical and sexual abuse by a priest from the age of 11. He said the Catholic church should be held accountable.

Pope Francis will make his first visit to Ireland this weekend for the World Meeting of Families 2018.

He will say mass to a crowd of 500,000 this Sunday in Phoenix Park.

Images via Mannix Flynn blog.