Friday 31 August 2018

Melbourne to host 2018 International Commemoration of the Great Irish Famine on 28 October

Josepha Madigan T.D., Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Chair of the National Famine Commemoration Committee, has announced that the 2018 International Commemoration of the Great Irish Famine will take place in Melbourne on Sunday 28 October.

The Government will be represented at the event by Patrick O’Donovan T.D., Minister of State at both the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Confirming the arrangements for this year’s International Commemoration, Minister Madigan said: "It is particularly fitting, following the hosting by University College Cork of the National Famine Commemoration in May, that this year’s overseas commemoration is held in Melbourne given strong historical links between Melbourne and Cork. Some 1,700 of 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, many of them from County Cork, were processed through the Government Depot in William Street, Melbourne.

"This year’s commemoration represents an opportunity to not only honour the work of the Irish Community in Melbourne in preserving its history but also to pay special tribute to the memory of those young women and their contribution to their adopted homeland.”

2018 will be the second time the international commemoration has been held in Australia (Minister Jimmy Deenihan T.D. attended the 2013 commemoration in Sydney). There have been nine international commemorations of the Great Irish Famine to date. Since the first international commemoration in Toronto and Quebec in 2009, events have also been held in Canada, the USA and the UK.