Spotlight on justice system in new Spike Island installation 

Spotlight on justice system in new Spike Island installation 

Fair City star Tommy O’Neill in “The Trial” — an art installation that has begun its national tour on Cork’s Spike Island. The subjects of healthcare and human rights for those within the criminal justice system are explored.

SPIKE Island is hosting a new art installation called ‘The Trial’ which runs until August 24.

The multi-screen video installation explores the theme of healthcare and human rights within the Irish criminal justice system.

The project is by visual artist Sinead McCann in collaboration with UCD historians Catherine Cox and Fiachra Byrne.

Dr Sinead McCann is a Dublin-based visual artist. Her areas of interest lie in making artworks that add an artistic contribution to public debate on important social issues existing in modern life. She works across the mediums of performance, film, installation and sculpture. Much of her work is collaborative and she often works in site, context and community-specific way.

She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally and has been funded and supported by recognised institutions.

McCann worked with writer Sarah Meaney and
ex-prisoners from “The Bridge Project”, a charitable
organisation that helps individuals who were previously incarcerated reintegrate back into society.

Together they created the script for the video piece which stars Irish actor Tommy O’Neill. O’Neill, who is best known for his role as detective John Deegan on RTÉ One’s Fair City, was himself incarcerated during the 1970s before turning his life around.

The Trial was exhibited in Dublin’s Kilmainham Gaol last year with almost 20,000 visitors attending.

Following on from its success it was selected by the Irish Arts Council to receive funding for a national tour.

Artist Sinead McCann believes that Spike Island is the perfect setting for the exhibit: “We are honoured to have Spike Island host The Trial project. Visitors will have the chance to reflect on the history of healthcare in prison, while standing in what was, during Victorian times, one of the largest prisons in the world”.

The Trial will remain open to the public until August 26 on Spike Island.

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