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Famine milestone for city

Newry holds the distinction of becoming the first place in Northern Ireland to host an annual famine commemoration as confirmed by Irish Arts Minister Heather Humphreys. The minister confirmed that the 2015 commemoration will be held in Newry on Saturday 26th September and it marks 170 years since the 1845 famine which devastated Irish life, causing 1million deaths and a further 1.5million to emigrate, primarily to the USA, Canada and England. Ms Humphreys said that the famine affected the entire island of Ireland and therefore the commemoration rotates between the four provinces. Since its inaugural ceremony in Dublin in 2008, there have been 8 commemorations and this year it’s the turn of Ulster and Newry. “The annual famine commemoration is a solemn tribute to those who suffered in the most appalling circumstances that prevailed during the Great Famine,” Ms Humphreys said. “While the scale of suffering was greater in some parts of Ireland than others, all parts of the island suffered great loss of life and the destruction of families through emigration. In this commemoration we remember all those who suffered, those who died, those who survived but who lost family members, those who were forced to emigrate and those who remained in Ireland but suffered other forms of loss because of the Great Famine.” In 2011 the event was held in Clones, Monaghan and Ms Humphreys spoke of her delight at it becoming a cross community event. “It was very moving to witness the involvement of the entire community in the event and in particular the participation of children,” said the minister. She was quick to praise a strong Newry application and the enthusiasm demonstrated to host it and said she eagerly anticipate Newry’s staging of the tribute to the strategy: “I look forward to engaging with the local community in Newry as they bring their unique perspective to remembering one of the most important events in our shared history and as an Ulster woman I look forward to participating in the event in Newry in September,” she said.


Newry Democrat

14th April 2015