National Great Hunger events sidelined because of Queen's visit, Monaghan SF councillor claims!

20 May 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A co-ordinated national programme of events to commemorate the Great Hunger of the 1840s had been deliberately sidelined by the Government this year because its timing would have coincided with this week’s visit of the British Queen to Ireland, Sinn Féin councillor Sean Conlon claimed at Monday night’s meeting of Monaghan Town Council.
Colr Conlon said a National Memorial Day had taken place in May each year since 2008 to commemorate An Gorta Mor, but the fact that no such event had been planned this year was in his view due to the timing of the visit of the English Queen.
He expressed the view that the Government believed such an event would have caused a high degree of discomfort to the Queen, as her ancestors were directly responsible for a great number of the deaths of the Irish people’s ancestors by being the cause of the circumstances which led to their deaths during the Great Hunger, as food was exported from this country that would have adequately fed the people.
He was moving a Notice of Motion, in his own name and that of party colleagues Pádraigín Uí Mhurchadha, Donal Sherry and Paul McGeown:
“That Monaghan Town Council acknowledges the former Government establishing a National Memorial Day to commemorate An Gorta Mor, The Great Hunger, held in May each year since 2008 and that we ask of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs why no such co-ordinated national event has been scheduled for the month of May this year, and that we commend the efforts of the Irish Diaspora who will be commemorating this landmark event internationally over the coming weeks.”
Colr Conlon referred to the minute’s silence held a year ago at noon to mark the Great Hunger, which had been co-ordinated nationally and was in keeping with an initiative established in 2008 by Government Minister Eamon O Cuiv, marking a most catastrophic social and economic disaster in which a million people died and perhaps a million and a half emigrated.
He said he had gone onto the Dept’s website and while a 2011 national commemoration event was mentioned, there was no date given for it. The previous Government had established a pattern of events at a fixed time, and it was very disappointing that it had fallen by the wayside.
He noted that Irish people in the US were very pro-active in upholding the tradition established of staging events commemorating An Gorta Mor. He proposed that the Council send correspondence to the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America congratulating them on their efforts to perpetuate this noble and honourable event.
Colr Conlon said that while there was nothing stopping them holding a local event, it would be preferable if this was part of a nationally co-ordinated commemoration, and it was very disappointing that this might have lapsed.
He added that he was putting forward the motion not to be politically contentious, but to flag up the series of events which, he believed, had led to this year’s commemoration not going ahead. He believed they could talk of the people visiting their country this week as being in denial about the events of the Great Hunger.
Full story in The Northern Standard

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