1 September 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Cianna McNally

A HUGE crowd was in attendance in the Canal Stores, Clones on Monday evening, 29th August as the National Famine Commemoration programme of events was officially launched ahead of the ceremony which will be held next Saturday, 10th September in Clones.
The application to have the town host the national event was made by Clones Community Forum with the support of Clogher Historical Society and others.
President of Ireland Mary McAleese will officiate at the ceremony which will involve both local and state input.
Chairman of the Community Forum Eugene Hamill welcomed those present at Monday evening’s launch including speakers local historian Brian MacDomhnaill who spoke about ‘Famine in Clones Poor Law Union’ and Gerard MacAtasney who spoke on ‘The Famine in Ulster: Revising the Revisionists.’
The Forum chairman paid tribute to the Famine Graveyard committee and chairman Peter McClave who organised the commission of the Famine memorial which can be seen at the graveyard.
Mr Hamill concluded by extending his thanks to the following: The Famine Graveyard committee, Clones Community Forum, the Cassandra Hand Centre, the Canal Stores, the steering committee organising the event, the many groups and societies throughout Clones who were involved in the programme of events, Clones Town Council, Clones Credit Union for sponsoring Monday night’s event and Monaghan County Council.
Mayor of Clones Yvonne Newell read a quotation about the Famine from the Fermanagh Reporter in December 1846 which is engraved on the memorial at the Famine Graveyard.
She spoke of how proud Clones was to be chosen to host the National Famine Commemoration and thanked Clones Commununity Forum for making the application and for putting together the packed programme of events that will take place in Monaghan, Fermanagh and Cavan in the lead-up to 10th September. Then, along with Peter McClave Mayor Newell officially launched the Famine events programme.
Mayor of Co Monaghan Seamus Coyle acknowledged the work that had gone into the application process to have Clones selected as the location for the National Famine Commemoration and described it as a true representation of community spirit.
Mayor Coyle also praised all involved in organising the programme of events and wished them well in the lead-up to 10th September.
Chairman of Fermanagh District Council Thomas O’Reilly remarked that it was a testament to the ingenuity of people during the Great Hunger that so many had survived despite the fact that so many communities were devastated by death.
Mr O’Reilly felt that events such as the National Famine Commemoration shone a light on past history and it was important that lessons were learned from experiences in the past.
He concluded by stating that he hoped the legacy left by the national event in Clones would be a positive one as all involved were working to ensure the area was shown in its best light.
An exhibition provided by Heber McMahon of McMahon Spades was also on display in the Canal Stores on Monday evening.
For more information on the events leading up to the National Famine Commemoration on 10th September visit For more photographs from Monday evening’s launch turn to Clones news on page 10.

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