Written answers

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

National Monuments

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Minister, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Dublin South West, Labour)
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637. To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she is aware of the representations from the Committee for the Commemoration of Irish Famine Victims to have a memorial stone placed, as appropriate, in the Custom House; her future plans in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42796/15]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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As Chair of the National Famine Commemoration Committee, I am responsible for ensuring that appropriate arrangements are in place to commemorate the Great Irish Famine. In carrying out these functions, my main focus is to ensure that the victims of the Irish Famine are respectfully and appropriately remembered and also to raise awareness of current food security issues worldwide. The Great Famine is marked each year at formal commemorations in Ireland and abroad. The 2015 National Famine Commemoration was held in Newry in September and was a great success, enjoying significant cross-community representation. The 2015 International Famine Commemoration ceremony was held at St. John, New Brunswick, Canada in October and was also very successful.

My Department works with other Government departments and with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that the Great Famine is marked each year by appropriate annual commemorations. My officials are already commencing preparations for next year's national and international commemorative ceremonies, which will take place in Leinster and Philadelphia, USA, respectfully. While our primary focus must remain on the successful delivery of these commemorations, I can confirm that officials from my Department have been in contact with the Office of Public Works to examine the possibility of placing a memorial stone within the grounds of the Custom House in Dublin. This would recognise the staging of the inaugural National Famine Commemoration at that location, in 2008. As these discussions are at an early stage, no final decisions have been made in this matter as of yet.

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