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Commissions sought for Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Ennis Civic Trust and Ennis Town Council in association with the Irish Vietnam Veterans Memorial Project are seeking to commission a memorial sculpture dedicated to Irish men and women who served in allied military service in South East Asia during the period 1959-1975, including the Vietnam War to the value of €120,000.

The brief for the artwork has been devised in conjunction with The Irish Vietnam Veterans Memorial Project, who is funding the erection of this sculpture in Ennis.

The memorial was first proposed by Matthew Carroll of The Irish Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Project, who is an advocate for ex-veterans, who served in South East Asia during the period 1959-1975.

The commissioners are very cognisant of the sensitivity surrounding any war memorial and acknowledge that every war brings with it huge human suffering for all nations involved.

While acknowledging this fact, they wish to recognise the Irish men and women who lost their lives, as well as those who served and may currently be in need of advocacy and support. They have emphasised the proposed memorial be dedicated to those Irish who served and lost their lives during military service in South East Asia but stress it is not a war memorial.

It is not envisaged that the sculpture will represent the triumphalism of war in any way. Neither it is intended as a judgement on the rights and wrongs of war, but is a focus on creating a space for reflection.

In the brief to artists seeking the tender, the Clare Arts office advise the sculpture should in some way acknowledge Irish participation in these events during that time while also reflect the loss to Irish families of loved ones. It should be reflective of the human price paid by both the Irish men and women involved and their families. It should also express or reflect a pride in those who served.

“It is envisaged that Irish families whose loved ones served in South East Asia would come to remember them at the memorial.

“It is also anticipated that Ennis and Clare may be designated a rest and recuperation location for veterans, of which there are 1.4 million in the USA. Ennis may also become an attraction for American soldiers on holiday leave and that this first Irish memorial would be visited by large numbers of American and Irish families,” the brief states.

There is a particular significance attached to November 11, 2013 as it is Remembrance Day worldwide and is it envisaged the memorial would be unveiled in spring 2014 in advance of Remembrance Day that year.

The memorial would include the names of 29 Irish men and women who served in allied military service in South East Asia during the period 1959-1975.

The proposed location is Monastery Park, the area to the left of footpath on the approach to Glór from The Temple Gate Hotel/Dunnes Car Park direction.

This is a standalone project but the site and environs might also accommodate other memorials in the future.
A site visit to Monastery Park will take place on Monday, April 15 at 11am and any artist wishing to attend the site visit must register in advance with the County Arts Office by Thursday April 11.

The site visit will include a question and answers session in Glór followed by a walk to the area being proposed for the artwork. Representatives from Clare Arts Office and Ennis Town Council will be available to assist with any queries which may arise from the site visit.

The budget for the project is €120,000, which is being provided by The Irish Vietnam Veterans Memorial Project. Ennis Civic Trust in conjunction with Ennis Town Council is delivering the project as a council project funded by a third party. There is a separate budget available for the civil/landscaping works that may need to be undertaken to complement the memorial.

The deadline for artist’s submissions is Friday May 24 and no late applications will be accepted.
Selected shortlisted artist(s) will be notified by June 7.

The winner of the public art commission will be selected by Ennis Civic Trust in conjunction with Ennis Town Council, the County Arts Office and The Vietnam Veterans project.

Full details is available on the Clare County Council website www.clarecoco.ie and further queries can be made by contacting Siobhán Mulcahy on 065-6899091 or by emailing arts@clarelibrary.ie.


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