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17.17 14 Dec 2016


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A bill looking to establish a set day to remember the victims of the Great Famine was introduced in the Dáil today.

Currently the Famine Memorial Day occurs on a date which varies between May to September each year, and which is determined only months in advance.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Heritage Peadar Tóibín TD, who introduced the Bill, said: "The lasting consequence of the Great Hunger was the massive depopulation of this country where over one million people died and a million people were forced to emigrate - these are very conservative estimates.

"The legacy with regards emigration is still here as well.  The sad fact is, because of the start of mass emigration during the Famine, we still have emigration as a defining characteristic of the Irish population and we still see its effects in rural areas today.

“We need a fixed memorial day to remember the Great Irish Famine, to remember the human cost and consequences of neglect, to remember the effects when an economic imperative is prioritised and to recognise the dark shadows of colonial ‘might [...] It is an Irish tragedy, but with global significance."

Famine victims were remembered today at a state ceremony at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, some 164 years after the outbreak of the devastating potato blight.

The National Famine Commemoration event will include prayers of remembrance, military honours and a wreath-laying ceremony by ambassadors to Ireland.

President Michael D Higgins will unveil a famine cross as a permanent memorial to the more than 1 million people who perished before a minute's silence is observed.


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