From the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs
Reproduced below is a letter from former Minister Pat Carey to Marie Smith. Our feeling should be positive in that Minister Carey’s successor will allow the same degree of access to his office and provide updated information as before.
An Roinn Gnothai Pobail, Comhionannais
Department of Community, Equality
and Gaeltacht Affairs
Oifig an Aire
Office of the Minister
Dun Aimhirgin, 43/49 Bothar Mespil,
Baile Atha Cliath 4, Eire.
43/49 Mespil Road, Dublin 4, Ireland
Teileafon +353 1 647 3054
Facsuimhir +353 1 647 3101
Glao Aitiuil 1890 474 847
Our Ref: 0801/2010/COL/DE
Ms Marie J Smith
Irish American Unity Conference
South Florida Chapter
P.O. Box 530281
Miami Shores, FL 33153
United States of America
24th February 2011
Dear Ms Smith,
Thank you for your recent letter and your previous correspondence of 7th September 2010, in which you made various recommendations to the National Famine Commemoration Committee.
A new National Famine Commemoration Committee has now been appointed for the period 2011-2013 and the work program me for the committee’s second term of office will comprise the following strands:
To commemorate those who suffered, died and emigrated during this tragic time in our history;
To secure the participation of local communities and our young people at the highest level possible;
To explore how we can continue to remember those who suffer from famine and hunger in the modern world;
To continue to work with our diaspora communities – the Irish abroad – to consider how the extraordinary contributions of those that emigrated and of their many descendants can be appropriately celebrated.
I will ensure that your recommendations are brought to the attention of the committee when it next meets. Unfortunately, my department has no responsibility for the restoration of graveyards and workhouses. The National Famine Commemoration Committee will explore what can be achieved with the available resources to ensure that all those who suffered, died and emigrated are appropriately commemorated.
With regard to your suggestions regarding the involvement of schools, you may be interested to hear that as part of the programme of events for the 2010 National Famine Commemoration, a very successful competition was organised for primary and post primary schools in the Mayo/North West Galway area by the National Famine Commemoration Committee, in cooperation with the Department of Education and the Mayo Education Centre. The competition comprised three elements:
1. An essay in English or As Gaeilge on the theme of what happened during the famine in the entrants’ local areas;
2. An artistic representation of the famine, locally or nationally in media decided on by the entrant;
3. A blog, as Gaeilge, on http://www.bladair.com, a site recently launched by Mayo Education Centre; Entrants are invited to write their own blog on the Famine, preferably in their own areas, and post it on the website.
Schools nationwide were also invited to participate in a minute of silent reflection at noon on Friday, 14th May 2010.
The new National Famine Commemoration Committee will build on the achievements of the previous committee to ensure that the victims of the Irish famine and all those who suffer famine in the modern world are appropriately remembered. You may wish to visit the National Famine Commemoration page of my Department’s website, http://www.pobail.ie to view the membership of the new National Famine Commemoration committee and details about the previous and future National Famine Commemorations.
Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs