21/02/17

Minister Humphreys indicates intention to fix date for annual National Famine Commemoration

The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, has today (Tuesday) indicated her intention to fix a date for the annual National Famine Commemoration. The National Famine Commemoration Bill, brought forward by Deputy Colm Brophy, is due to be debated in the Dáil this evening.

Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:

“Each year since 2009, the State has held a National Famine Commemoration, to remember the devastating impact which the Great Famine had on this country. The Famine was arguably the greatest disaster to ever affect Ireland, and it is only right that it is marked with a solemn commemoration.

“While the National Famine Commemoration Committee has endeavoured to hold the ceremony on the second Sunday of May each year, there has up to this point been a degree of flexibility in relation to the date of the commemoration. The location of the commemoration changes each year and the local community is usually consulted in relation to proposed dates to allow organisers to develop a fitting programme of locally organised events, many of which have been tied in with dates of important local significance.

“Fixing a date for the annual commemoration is something I have given consideration in recent months. While recognising that it could pose some challenges for the host community each year, I believe these challenges can be overcome.

“Fixing the date for the Famine Commemoration will illustrate that the State views it as a very important commemoration, for Irish people and our Diaspora, to reflect on that terrible period in our history and remember the horrific impact it had on this island and our people.

“It is important that particular care is taken in the selection of such a date. I am therefore happy to support the reading of the Bill at Second Stage and I look forward to working with Deputy Brophy to ensure that the necessary work is done to ensure that the benefits of setting a fixed date are fully realised before the Bill proceeds further.”

ENDS

Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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