Monday 29 December 2014

Group finally wins State's backing for Famine event

Published 05/05/2007 | 00:11

CAMPAIGNERS have won a four-year battle to force the Government to officially recognise its annual event commemorating the Famine, writes Senan Moloney.

CAMPAIGNERS have won a four-year battle to force the Government to officially recognise its annual event commemorating the Famine, writes Senan Moloney.

The Cabinet have declined invitations since 2003 to a small solemn procession in Dublin to mark the 19th Century disaster which decimated the Irish population through deaths and emigration.

However, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has finally agreed to lend support to the May 27 event by holding a state reception afterwards in Iveagh House.

Junior Foreign Affairs Minister Conor Lenihan will represent the Government and guests will include the US and Australian ambassadors.

The Tallaght-based Committee for the Commemoration of Irish Famine Victims has been lobbying TDs and organisations on the issue for the past four years.

Every year, up to 50 committee members and supporters dress in peasant clothes in the procession from the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square to the Famine sculptures on Custom House Quay.

Committee chairman Michael Blanch said: "Government recognition of our event is a major achievement. The Famine took place only three generations ago and every country remembers disasters in its history - whether it is the Holocaust or 9/11."

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