In support of Galway’s bid for European City of Culture 2020 Dúchas na Gaillimhe - Galway Civic Trust has donated a stone sculpture to the City of Belfast on behalf of Galway City. The aim is to foster long term cross border friendships while at the same time thanking the families of donors for their extraordinary generosity and commemorating those who have given the gift of life through organ donation.
The artistic symbolism expressed through this candle sculpture is the light of humanity which shines through organ donation. The sculpture was commissioned by the organ donation community in Northern Ireland from Strange Boat Donor Foundation which created the Circle of Life National Organ Donor Commemorative Garden located in Salthill Galway. It is an exact replica of the Galway sculpture and is now in place at the world famous herbaceous border in Belfast’s Botanical Gardens. Speaking on behalf of the Galway Civic Trust and Galway City Council, Mayor Larkin said: "Galway is already a very popular destination for visitors from Northern Ireland, and given this new civic dimension and connection between Galway and Belfast there is huge potential to further connectivity and goodwill from a north/south perspective". The Mayor of Belfast Alderman Kingston said: “I am absolutely delighted to unveil this very moving sculpture in the beautiful surroundings of Botanic Gardens here in Belfast. This generous donation from the Galway Civic Trust is gratefully received and shines a positive light on organ donation across the island of Ireland. One of the specific objectives of the European City of Culture is to strengthen the capacity of the cultural sector and its links with other sectors. As a leading heritage and cultural organisation in Galway City, we felt that we could broaden the popular view of what culture actually is and by highlighting organ donation, demonstrate how culture can be used to benefit not just the people of Galway but all the people on the island as a whole. Dr. Alan Gaffney, Clinical Lead specialising in organ donation at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin said: "We have one of the most generous populations in the world. It is recognised that by co-operating and sharing healthcare resources and skills we can work together to benefit more patients across our Island. Today's unveiling and gesture of friendship is a wonderful opportunity to cement relationships and to work in solidarity for one cause on behalf of all the people of Ireland". The Strange Boat Donor Foundation was set up by Denis and Martina Goggin following the death of their son, Éamonn in a car accident in 2006. His organs were donated for transplantation. Pictured at the sculpture unveiling ceremony in Belfast were: Martina and Dennis Goggin - Strange Boat Donor Foundation, Mayor of Galway - Cllr. Noel Larkin, Mayor of Belfast - Alderman Brian Kingston.