Minute's silence urged for victims of Famine
PEOPLE are being urged to hold a minute's silence and visit their local famine sites and graveyards to commemorate the victims of the Great Famine during National Famine Memorial Day tomorrow.
The Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs is also encouraging church-goers to ring bells at 2pm as a mark of respect for the millions of people who starved to death between 1845 and 1849.
In Co Mayo, where one in four people died and many more were forced to emigrate, a special state ceremony will be held at the National Famine monument at Murrisk.
Schoolchildren, politicians and an inter-denominational group of religious leaders will light candles at a special vigil honouring the victims of the famine starting at 1pm at the Murrisk Millennium Peace Park.
Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Minister Pat Carey will lead the official commemoration service with an address and wreath-laying ceremony. He said: "No other event in our history can be likened to the Great Famine for its immediate impact or its legacy of emigration, cultural loss and decline of Irish language."
Dublin Lord Mayor Emer Costello will also lay a wreath, followed by one minute's silence, at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Church urged the faithful to not only remember the Famine victims but also the estimated one billion people who are starving across the world today.
The church urged the Government to fulfil its commitment under the UN's Millennium Development Goals initiative, which has set a target date of 2015 to reduce by half the number of people around the globe suffering from malnutrition and hunger.
"We owe it to those who suffered at the time of the Famine to stand in solidarity with the hungry today."