The Labyrinth Committee have raised almost half the funds required to build the controversial €50,000 development in DCU. Fr Joe Jones told The College View the group has raised just under €23,000 after what he described as “a very busy November and December”.
Fr Jones, who is Head Chaplain at the Inter Faith Centre, said almost half the money raised had come from the college itself with the remainder coming from the DCU Quality Improvement Fund and private investors.
Last year DCU Students’ Union agreed to contribute €10,000 towards the construction. However a referendum was held on the issue after DCU Sinn Féin petitioned students to reject any financial input from the SU towards the Labyrinth’s construction.
In the referendum, students voted by a two-thirds majority for there to be no SU contribution towards the construction.
In an interview with The College View last October, Fr Jones revealed that the university had already contributed €10,000 towards the construction of the Labyrinth with the other €4,000 coming from the DCU Quality Improvement Fund.
Fr Jones believes a lot of students who voted against the Labyrinth last year did so because they didn’t understand the idea behind the Labyrinth, or saw it as a religious themed development.
“The students who were objecting to the Labyrinth did so for the sake of objecting. I don’t think they quite understood what they were objecting to. I was quite disappointed by that”, he said. “I think some people saw the project as being led by the Catholic Church and they were opposing the church as opposing the Labyrinth.”
A labyrinth is an ancient meditation tool consisting of a winding stone path that people walk while in thought or meditation. Permission has already been granted to build the Labyrinth in the green space in front of the library.
The Labyrinth dates back as far as 5,000 years ago and predates most world religions.
Research conducted at the Harvard Medical School’s Mind/Body Institute has found that focused walking meditations can reduce anxiety levels. Labyrinth meditation gardens are also believed to lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.
Sam Griffin and Michael Cogley