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The messages people left at the Savita Halappanavar mural will be digitally archived

Since Friday, flowers have been left at the bottom of the mural, along with ‘Yes’ leaflets, pens and sellotape so that people could leave notes.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

THE MESSAGES OF support left at a mural of Savita Halappanavar are to be preserved, catalogued and digitised, Dublin City Library and Archive has confirmed.

The mural was put up by artist Aches on a white wall on Richmond Street South in Dublin city on the eve of the Eighth Amendment referendum.

Since people began voting on Friday morning, flowers have been left at the bottom of the mural, along with ‘Yes’ leaflets, pens and sellotape so that people could leave notes.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Dublin City Library and Archive said that, in keeping with its collections policy, it commissioned a photographer to take photographs of the mural and notes yesterday.

It confirmed that “these photographs will be preserved, catalogued and added to our digital collections and the photographs will provide a valuable sampling of the content for future generations”.

The international best practice advice on condolence archives of this nature emphasises that we should ‘First, let the materials do as they were intended: Provide comfort’.

TheJournal.ie has also created its own collection of the notes posted at the mural, which you can watch above.

Ireland abortion laws Source: Niall Carson via PA Images

People have continued to leave notes, flowers and items at the mural over the weekend and into this week in memory of Savita.

Among the notes left by people were slogans and sentiments of the Yes campaign, including ”Trust women”, “Our bodies, our choice”, and ”Never again”.

The mantra “Never again” has been used frequently at vigils held for Savita to argue that women should not be denied healthcare because of the Eighth Amendment.

Other notes left on the mural read:

I hope no one has to die like you again, we are sorry. Let’s do you right finally. 
I voted for you Savita, may you rest in peace. You’ll never be forgotten along with all the other women who suffered. All my love xxx
For Savita, you made us fight. Never again. 
Stay strong girls of Ireland, this is just the beginning of a long journey. 

Savita Halappanavar died on 28 October 2012 at University Hospital Galway. She was 17 weeks pregnant. The cause of death was recorded as severe sepsis, E.coli in the bloodstream and a miscarriage at 17 weeks. A detailed account of how Savita came to the nation’s attention and became a pivotal story in the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment can be found here.

Explaining why it has not removed the notes from the mural yet, Dublin City Library and Archive said: “The mural is very much a living thing at present – people are walking by, taking pictures, adding more notes and flowers – and for this reason, we have not sought to remove the hard-copy notes.”

While they said they wouldn’t be taking the original cards off the wall, for now, Dublin City Library and Archives said that it would be pleased to accept a donation of the original cards to add to its ephemera collections, “should Together for Yes and other stakeholders require a permanent home for this material”.

Last Friday, Ireland voted by 66.4% to 33.6% to remove the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution, paving the way for the legislation of abortion in some circumstances.

The parents of Savita Halappanavar, who had called for a yes vote in the referendum, have said that they are “really happy” with the result.

With reporting by Gráinne Ní Aodha and Nicky Ryan. 

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