Éamon Ó Cuív, T.D., Ireland's Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
to speak at St Mike's on An Gorta Mr: The Impact And Legacy Of The Great Irish Famine on Friday, May 8, 2009
at 4 pm.
In May 2008, Éamon Ó Cuív, T.D., Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, announced the Irish Government's decision to commemorate the Great Famine with an annual memorial day in May each year. The first such event took place in Dublin in May 2008 and the second will take place in Skibbereen, Co. Cork on 17 May, 2009.
Irish Famine Commemoration Events
In May 2008, Éamon Ó Cuív, T.D., Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs announced the Government's decision to commemorate the Great Famine with an annual memorial day in May each year. The first such event took place in Dublin in May 2008 and the second in Skibbereen, Co. Cork on 17 May, 2009. Against the background of mass famine emigration, the Government decided that from 2009 it would also be appropriate to host an overseas commemoration event in a different location each year. Canada was chosen for the inaugural overseas memorial and Minister O Cuiv represented the Government at events in Toronto and on Grosse Ile, Quebec between 7 -10 May.
On Friday, May 8, the Celtic Studies Program at St. Michael's College was honoured to host a lecture by Minister O Cuiv on "An G¢rta M¢r - the impact and legacy of the Great Irish Famine". A crowd of well over 100 people gathered in Charbonnel Lounge at 4 p.m. Mr. O Cuiv gave an excellent talk on the impact of the Famine on all aspects of Irish life, the culture, the economy, and the Irish language. Following the talk, Mr. O Cuiv, who is committed to the preservation of the Irish language, announced that the Government of Ireland will provide funding to the Celtic Studies Program to host a visiting scholar from Ireland to assist in the teaching of Irish language in the 2009-2010 academic year. The Program is delighted to participate in this generous initiative and is looking forward to having a young scholar on campus in September. The Minister then presented Jonathan Bengtson, the St. Michael's College Chief Librarian, with a beautiful facsimile of the Book of Durrow to be placed in the Kelly Library for the use of staff and students.
After the presentation, the book Death or Canada by Mark McGowan, Principal of St. Michael's College, based on the film documentary of the same name, was launched by the publisher Novalis Press. A fitting conclusion to a busy afternoon.
Next morning, Mr. O Cuiv, the Irish Ambassador His Excellency Declan Kelly, and a crowd of about 100 people braved the thunder showers to visit Ireland Park. Among those who spoke at the event were Mr. Robert Kearns, Chair of the Ireland Park Foundation, City Councillor Adam Vaughan, and of course Minister O Cuiv. A musical tribute to the memory of the Irish immigrants was performed by The Toronto Choral Society.
Mr. O Cuiv and his party later flew to Quebec City and visited Grosse Ile on Sunday, May 10 for commemoration ceremonies there.
The text of Mr. O Cuiv's talks in Toronto and Grosse Ile can be found on the website of the Embassy of Ireland in Ottawa at http://www.embassyofireland.ca