Tuesday 4 September 2012

Sydney to host 2013 Intl Famine Commemoration

The National Famine Commemoration Committee has selected Sydney as the venue for the 2013 International Commemoration of the Great Irish Famine.

The announcement was made by Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Chairman of the National Famine Commemoration Committee, who said that he looked forward to working with the community in Sydney and, in particular, with Sydney's Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee to ensure that those who perished, suffered and emigrated during this tragic time are honoured in a very special way.

He added: "We remember especially all of those who left Ireland during the Great Famine for Australia; particularly the 4,412 young Irish women and girls who travelled from the workhouses of Ireland between 1848 and 1850 under the Earl Grey Scheme in search of hope and a new beginning. We honour their great achievements and their extraordinary contribution to their adopted homeland and we recognise the bond that will always exist between the Irish people and the people of Sydney."

The commemoration will be held on 25 August 2013.

There have been four international commemorations of the Great Irish Famine to date. They coincide with the annual National Famine Commemoration, which rotates around the four provinces of Ireland. Previous overseas events have taken place in Canada (2009), New York (2010), Liverpool (2011) and Boston (2012).

Munster will be the host for the next National Famine Commemoration, but the exact location has yet to be chosen. However, I spotted a newspaper story last week reporting that a bid is being prepared from County Clare. Possibly other local authorities are doing the same. Either way, the announcement of the host venue will be made later this year.