IRELAND’S CULTURE minister Josepha Madigan has paid tribute to the “courage and commitment” shown by doctors and nurses during the Great Famine on National Famine Commemoration Day.
Ms Madigan was in attendance for a special ceremony this past Sunday, May 17, at the Edward Delaney Famine Sculpture in St Stephen’s Green which included military honours and a wreath laying ceremony in remembrance of those who suffered or died during the Famine.
The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who is also Chair of the National Famine Commemoration Committee, laid a wreath on behalf of the Irish people.
The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, meanwhile, lay a wreath in remembrance of all those who suffered or died during the Famine.
The National Famine Commemoration had originally been set to take place in Buncrana, Co Donegal.
However, the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions saw those plans curtailed in favour of a small event held behind closed doors away from the public.
The commemoration will instead be held in Donegal in 2021.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ms Madigan hailed the medical workers of the famine who served Ireland during a time of national crisis, drawing a comparison with the frontline workers of today.
The National Famine Commemoration is taking place in St Stephen's Green pic.twitter.com/ICpeaSJAGs
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) May 17, 2020
"This year the National Famine Commemoration was to have been held in Buncrana," she said.
"However, due to the circumstances in which we find ourselves these plans, like so many others, have had to be put on hold for now. I look forward to Buncrana hosting the Commemoration next year.
"As we confront a pandemic today, let us recall that the Great Famine was a public health emergency in its own right. We think of the many heroes of the Famine years.
"People such as the doctors and nurses of the fever hospitals of who put themselves at risk to care for others will always have our thanks for their sacrifice.
“As our society has changed and evolved this commitment to helping others has never waivered and we see the same qualities of courage and commitment to others in our healthcare staff today.”