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Schoolchildren to mark Great Famine

Schoolchildren are to hold a minute's silence to remember those who died in the Great Famine.

Pupils in all primary and secondary schools have been asked to take the time as a mark of respect and to reflect on the current issue of famine and hunger worldwide.

Arts, heritage and Gaeltacht minister Jimmy Deenihan described the initiative as "remarkable".

"By taking this time to remember our own history of famine we can also raise awareness of hunger issues around the world," Mr Deenihan said.

"The devastation caused by the famine in Ireland has shaped our attitude to famine experienced in the world today and Ireland remains deeply committed to providing humanitarian relief to those in need.

"Our strong commitment to providing humanitarian aid for countries currently experiencing hunger crisis shows our understanding and empathy for current situations worldwide."

Sporting organisations around the country have also been asked to hold a minute's silence on Sunday, when the 2013 National Famine Commemoration takes place in Kilrush, Co Clare.

It will include a formal state ceremony and community day.

The International Commemoration of the Great Irish Famine will take place in Sydney, Australia, in August.

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