12/03/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/03/2023 09:19
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has today unveiled a monument to remember and celebrate the lives of all those affected by HIV and AIDS.
The Taoiseach was joined by Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration & Youth Roderic O'Gorman for the ceremony in the People's Park in the Phoenix Park, along with Rory O'Neill from the project Oversight Group.
The 'Embraced Loop' monument is designed to express solidarity with everyone, past and present, who has been affected by HIV and AIDS, to remember those who have died, and celebrate their lives and all who supported them.
It was designed by artists Anaisa Franco and Michael R. DiCarlo. Their design was selected for having universal appeal, and for its creative use of the Red Ribbon associated with HIV/AIDS awareness.
To mark the occasion and further advance the global effort to combat HIV and AIDS, the Taoiseach also announced that Ireland is contributing €750,000 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
By the end of 2022, the Global Fund partnership had helped to save 59 million lives and assisted 24.5 million people to receive antiretroviral treatment for HIV and AIDS through its programmes.
Speaking after the ceremony, the Taoiseach said:
"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. 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.
"A special thank you to the Oversight Group and Jury for their dedication in seeing this project realised."
Tánaiste Micheál Martin said:
"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."
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said:
"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."
Approximately 150 guests attended the ceremony, including people directly impacted by HIV, or who dedicated much of their life and work to the treatment of HIV and AIDS. Members of the HIV and AIDS Monument Oversight Committee, established in 2021 to oversee the design and commissioning of the Monument, were also in attendance.
Notes to Editors
• An HIV and AIDS Monument Oversight Committee, chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach, was established in 2021 to oversee the design and commissioning of an HIV and AIDS National Monument. The competition was organised and administered on behalf of the Committee by the Office of Public Works (OPW).
• A Jury nominated by the HIV and Aids Oversight Committee adjudicated on the eight finalists in November 2022 and the winner was ratified by the Oversight Committee in December 2022.
• In December 2022, it was announced that Anaisa Franco and Michael R. DiCarlo had been awarded the commission for the Monument following a two-stage open competition.
• The Jury of 11 members comprised nominees from: HIV Ireland; Fast Track Cities Steering Group; Irish Haemophilia Society; Ana Liffey Drugs Project; Gender, Orientation, Sexual Health, HIV (GOSHH); the Arts Council; an OPW Principal Architect; and an arts nominee.
• The successful proposal entitled 'Embraced Loop' uses an abstracted form of the HIV symbol, the red ribbon, to create an embrace of solidarity.
• Through the Department of Foreign Affairs an additional contribution from Ireland of €750,000 is being made to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for their lifesaving work.
• This is in addition to the €21 million that Ireland has already provided to the Global Fund this year.
• The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was founded in 2002 to accelerate the end of the AIDS, TB and malaria epidemics.
• The number of people dying from AIDS, TB and malaria has fallen by more than half in that time.
• The Global Fund represents a strong investment for Ireland showing consistently impressive results since 2002.
• It invests approximately $5 billion a year to support programmes in more than 100 countries. By the end of 2022, the Global Fund partnership had saved 59 million lives and achieved a record breaking 24.5 million people on antiretroviral treatment for HIV through its programmes.
• Ireland was a founding member of the Global Fund and since then has contributed over €294 million in core funding to the organisation.