On Sunday, December 3, Ireland’s first national HIV/AIDS monument was unveiled in Phoenix Park, Dublin. The piece, entitled ‘Embraced Loop’, was designed by artists Anaisa France and Michael R DiCarlo and selected because of its universal appeal and creative use of the Red Ribbon.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar unveiled the monument, also announcing that Ireland is contributing €750,000 to the global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
“The great advances in prevention, treatment and care we have seen for HIV/AIDS over the last 20 years have helped to save millions of lives,” Varadkar stated.
“In spite of this incredible progress, we can never forget the devastating effect that HIV and AIDS has had on people, families, communities and entire nations.
“This deeply moving memorial, Embraced Loop, will be situated here permanently in the People’s Gardens to show the respect of our nation, that we share in the sorrow of those lost or suffering, and to remember and celebrate the lives of those we have lost.
“It also reminds us that we still need to act, and the struggle is not over,” he added.
The Taoiseach revealed the HIV/AIDS monument alongside Ireland’s Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman, as well as activist Rory O’Neill, also known as his drag persona Panti Bliss.
Delighted to be at (and say a few words at) the unveiling of the National HIV/AIDS Monument in the Pheonix Park this afternoon. Grateful to the many people who worked to make this happen over the last number of years pic.twitter.com/a1wnlEbfU3
— Dr Panti Bliss-Cabrera (@PantiBliss) December 3, 2023
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin commented on the new monument, saying: “This memorial is a fitting place for people to reflect on lives lost to AIDS and the tremendous advances in treatment that have done so much to reduce the health impacts on people with HIV and AIDS.
“Access to that treatment remains a problem in many countries, particularly for the most vulnerable in society and particularly in Africa. Ireland continues to support organisations to provide access to treatment that keeps people healthy and prevents transmission. The world has made enormous strides in combatting the impact of HIV and AIDS. This memorial is a welcome reminder that we must continue with those efforts.”
Meanwhile, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly stated, “It is fitting that we now have a permanent memorial to remember and celebrate not only the lives of all of those impacted by HIV/AIDS directly and their families and friends, but also the doctors, nurses, carers and researchers who dedicated so much of their lives and work to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of HIV and to improving care.”
Poignant and uplifting words of reflection and hope by Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar, Minister @rodericogorman, and #HIV activist, campaigner and member of the Mounument Oversight Committee @PantiBliss at the unveiling of the National HIV & AIDS Monument, People’s Gardens, Phoenix Park. pic.twitter.com/XD9z6MfJne
— HIV Ireland (@HIVIreland) December 3, 2023
The ceremony came in coincidence with World AIDS Day on December 1 and was attended by roughly 150 guests, including people directly impacted by HIV and those who have dedicated much of their lives to HIV/AIDS activism.
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