National Irish Famine commemoration day 'has been set'

The Great Famine was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1849

A NATIONAL commemoration day for the Irish Famine is reportedly set to be held on the third weekend in May every year.

Fine Gael TD Colm Brophy last year asked that the second Sunday in May every year be held as Famine memorial day.

Sinn Féin's Peadar Tóibín has also put forward a bill which was debated in the Seanad last night.

However, it was opposed by the Irish government who say Mr Brophy's bill is "further advanced".

According to the, ministers are investigating the "ideal date", with indications pointing to the third weekend in May to ensure it does not clash with any other events.

It is expected that the first memorial day will be held in 2019.

The day will not be classed as a bank holiday.

Mr Tóibín, Sinn Féin spokesman for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said the commemoration of the famine "can no longer be left in limbo".

"The famine is one of the most shocking and important events in Irish history," he said.

"Just a few generations ago the Irish people were subject to unimaginable horror. It irrevocably altered the trajectory of this country. Our population was halved.

"...The effects of the famine on our culture, our language and our psyche run deep. It's incredible, but in population terms alone Ireland has still not recovered from the famine.

"One of the legacies of the famine has been silence. Through the generations, the horror of the famine was not spoken about."

He said that the government had confirmed that a Memorial Committee still has not been put together

"We are disappointed that there has been some politics played around what should be a cross party effort. I introduced this bill at first stage in December 2016 and it was unopposed by government.

"However for some reason Fine Gael's Colm Brophy subsequently introduced a similar bill two months later."

He said, while Sinn Féin supported that bill, it has not been backed up with money and action, "forcing" him to resubmit another.

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