Belfast Telegraph

Clubs urged to mark Great Famine

Sports clubs have been called on to observe a minute's silence in memory of those who died during Ireland's Great Famine.

President Mary McAleese will be among the dignitaries attending this year's National Famine Commemoration on Saturday, September 10 in Clones, Co Monaghan.

Jimmy Deenihan, minister for arts, heritage and the Gaeltacht, urged sporting organisations to hold a minute of silent reflection at events on the day.

More than a million people died from starvation and disease from the failure of the potato crop during the 1840s, with another half million emigrating.

Mr Deenihan said: "Now, more than ever, we need to remember those who suffered loss during the Irish Famine - loss of life, loss of family, loss of home and loss of country.

"The legacy of the Great Hunger resonates deeply with Irish people.

"This is particularly poignant in light of the plight being suffered in these present times by those in Somalia and throughout East Africa."

The Irish Government has so far pledged 7.7 million euro in relief through Irish Aid to the cause, with public donations raising another 7 million euro for aid agencies.

Mr Deenihan continued: "This is the largest contribution to a single emergency from the Government in 2011 and shows that as a people we care deeply about adults and children who are literally starving to death.

"Down through the years, Irish people have always been known to have a strong commitment to humanitarian aid and to respond generously to relief efforts."

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