National Famine Commemoration takes place in ceremony closed to public due to Covid-19

National Famine Commemoration takes place in ceremony closed to public due to Covid-19
The ceremony was closed to the public today in St Stephen's Green.

Today's National Famine Commemoration took place in a closed ceremony in St Stephen's Green due to Covid-19.

The ceremony was conducted in line with Covid-19 health and safety guidelines like the recent Easter and Arbour Hill Commemorations and was not open to the public.

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan laid a wreath on behalf of the Irish people.

The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps on behalf of the Diplomatic community also laid a wreath while Aimee Banks sang Brendan Graham’s Crucán na bPáiste and the National Anthem was performed by an Army Piper.

In a speech in remembrance of all those who suffered or perished during the Famine, Minister Madigan said:

"In her poem Quarantine, the late Eavan Boland movingly evoked the efforts of a loving husband to support his wife with the last of his strength, when she said: 'She was sick with famine fever and could not keep up/He lifted her and put her on his back.'

"The heroes of the Famine that we honour today also sought to lift and carry those who fell or could not keep up.

Minister Madigan quoted the late Eavan Boland in her speech commemorating those who suffered as a result of the famine.
Minister Madigan quoted the late Eavan Boland in her speech commemorating those who suffered as a result of the famine.

"That same spirit of caring and self sacrifice that is embedded in the caring professions, is being seen again today as our health workers embrace the challenge of caring for those affected by Covid-19.

"We honour and respect these modern-day heroes and value their courage. Perhaps we can best show our appreciation for their work, and the efforts of their forebears during the Great Famine, by adhering to those small acts of heroism we are called upon to perform in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and to come though these testing times, just as our ancestors once did.”

The ceremony was due to be held in Buncrana in Co. Donegal this year, but has been postponed until next year.

The Minister unveiled a plaque marking the first Annual Famine Commemoration held in the Custom House in 2008 which later this year will be installed in the grounds of the Custom House.

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