Strokestown House, Co Roscommon 2022

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin officiated at the National Famine Commemoration in Strokestown Park, County Roscommon on Sunday 15 May. He was accompanied by Jack Chambers, Minister of State with responsibility for Sport and the Gaeltacht and Government Chief Whip.

The formal State ceremony included military honours and a wreath laying ceremony by Ambassadors to Ireland in remembrance of all those who suffered or perished during the Famine.

The Taoiseach represented the government at the formal state ceremony, which included military honours and a wreath laying ceremony in remembrance of all those who suffered or perished during the Famine.

Wreaths were also laid by His Excellency, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps; Councillor Joe Murphy Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, Mr. Jim Callery the founder of The National Famine Museum and Clare McGrath, Chair of Irish Heritage Trust.

Singer-songwriter Declan O’Rourke performed songs from his work, Chronicles of The Great Irish Famine. The ceremony was broadcast on the RTÉ News channel as it was not open to the public on this occasion.

Speaking at the event the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said:

It is impossible for us to imagine the feelings of hopelessness, anger and loss experienced by those who suffered through the Famine years. However, one of the most appalling aspects of the history of the Famine period is the knowledge that so much of the suffering was avoidable.

Throughout our history the victims of the Great Famine have called on us to help their modern day counterparts in their time of need and generations of Irish people have responded to that call.

As we come together to honour the victims of the Great Famine – those who died, those who were forced to emigrate and those who suffered and survived, we also recall that the people of the Ukraine who now need our help, have their own history of hunger.

Ireland has opened its doors to the people of Ukraine at their time of need and that crisis has brought home the importance of those who can help others, doing whatever they can to aid those in dire straits. This too is reflective of what we know about those compassionate and generous individuals who did what they could to help the people of Ireland during the Great Famine. Those contributions and acts of kindness must never be forgotten.

Speaking at the event Minister Chambers said:

The Great Famine was truly the darkest period of our history. Today’s ceremony is an opportunity to commemorate and honour the suffering and resilience of victims of the Famine years. It is appropriate that the Commemoration returns to this historic site in 2022 as the final preparations for the reopening of the National Famine Museum following major refurbishment are being concluded.