Saturday 21 October 2017

Famine memorial: Schoolchildren to hold minute’s silence

The Famine Memorial on the north quay in Dublin. Niall Carson/PA
The Famine Memorial on the north quay in Dublin. Niall Carson/PA
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

SCHOOLCHILDREN across Ireland will hold a minute's silence today in memory of the victims of the Great Famine.

More than a million people died from starvation and disease and another half million emigrated when the potato crop failed during the 1840s.



Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan will be among the dignitaries attending this year's National Famine Commemoration on Sunday in Drogheda, Co Louth.



An international event, led by President Michael D Higgins, took place in Boston last week.



Mr Deenihan paid tribute to students in primary and secondary schools for holding one minute's silent reflection.



"In pausing to remember the past, we also remain aware of world hunger and the issues around the shortage of food which affect so many parts of our world today," he said.



"There is no doubt that the experience of the Great Famine has shaped Irish attitudes to famine today and Ireland remains deeply committed to tackling world hunger, and providing humanitarian aid and relief around the world."



The 2012 National Famine Commemoration is being held in Drogheda as it was the second largest port of departure for those forced to flee Ireland on coffin ships during the notorious hunger of 1845 to 1851.



A series of commemorative events are also taking place in the town, including commemorative walks, recreating the Soup Kitchen of 1847 and exhibiting archival material from Strokestown Estate at the Drogheda Library.



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