Public Meeting Held To Discuss Proposals For Irish AIDS Memorial

Members of the LGBT+ community working in the area of HIV/AIDS activism held a public meeting last night to discuss the creation of an Irish AIDS memorial.

A group of 13 activists posing for a photo at the Irish AIDS memorial meeting
Image: Photo by Karl Hayden

The offices of HIV Ireland were the meeting place last night for a public meeting organised to discuss proposals for an AIDS memorial.

Led by activist and founder of GCN, Tonie Walsh, the discussion group consisted of a variety of people from the LGBT+ community working in the area of HIV and AIDS activism. There were representatives from groups such as HIV Ireland, Positive Now, Act Up, GCN and Irish Queer Archive amongst others.

There was also acknowledgement of individuals who were unable to attend and whose voices and community representation are vital in ensuring the memorial speaks for all those who have been affected by the AIDS crisis, such as intravenous drug users, working classes communities and people with haemophilia.

Issues discussed included the necessity for a national monument which speaks to everyone affected while referencing the current reality of the crisis today. One of the most important points agreed upon was the creation of an AIDS memorial which allows people affected a place and space to grieve. So many of those lost to AIDS left behind loved ones whose grief was stifled by shame and stigma.

Suggestions for a green space or living memorial were raised, with Tonie Walsh giving examples of other AIDS memorials across the world to draw influence from. Visibility and recognition of losses suffered would be key components in any eventual design.  Also raised was the need for digitisation of archival materials to enable learning for new generations in the areas of education and activism.

The group recognised that in order to move the conversation to the next stage, widespread support for the memorial was necessary. With that in mind, the consultation process now moves to Cork and Belfast, with dates to be announced soon.

As public support and input is key, those who could offer assistance to the process are welcomed to contact or email [email protected]

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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