Bill proposing annual fixed date commemoration for Great Famine to be discussed by Irish Government
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Bill proposing annual fixed date commemoration for Great Famine to be discussed by Irish Government

THE Irish Government are due to discuss a bill to commemorate the Great Famine on a fixed day every year, known as the National Famine Commemoration Day. 

While the Great Famine is currently commemorated yearly on a selected day from May to September, there is currently no fixed date.

The proposed bill was introduced by Fine Gael TD for Dublin South-West, Colm Brophy who said that not marking the country's "greatest tragedy" with a fixed day is "no longer acceptable".

Speaking on the bill Colm Brophy TD stated: “The National Famine Commemoration Day is one of three national commemoration days held in Ireland every year.

"The Famine Commemoration event is the only one that does not have a fixed date in the calendar."

“We have a fixed date to commemorate Easter 1916 and one to commemorate all those who died in other wars on behalf of our county.

"However, when it comes to what is, perhaps, our country’s greatest tragedy, it is somehow deemed not important enough to be marked by a permanent date in our calendar.

"This is no longer acceptable."

Mr Brophy also said that providing a fixed date for the commemoration would mean the Irish diaspora could also commemorate the Great Famine.

“We need a fixed date for a number of reasons. It will allow everyone to work towards the commemoration, on a yearly basis, and allows schools to make it part of the school curriculum.

"A permanent date, to which people could plan ahead, would also allow more of the Irish diaspora to attend the commemoration each year, which would be very fitting considering the impact the Famine had on emigration.

“There needs to be a change in our mentality when it comes to commemorating this momentous and terrible moment in our history.

"I feel that setting a fixed and permanent date in our diaries to remember and honour all those lost their lives is a very positive step."

The proposed bill says that the Great Famine shall be remembered and commemorated by the State including with a State commemoration that is commensurate with the tragedy’s historical, social and cultural significance.

The commemoration will be on the second Sunday of May of every year and shall be known as the National Famine Commemoration Day, and will include civil and military ceremonial elements and an inter-faith service.

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Lastly, the central venue for the commemoration shall be designated by the Taoiseach.

The Dáil will discuss the bill on Thursday, February 9 at 1.30 pm.