Glasgow to erect memorial to thousands who fled to city from Irish Famine
Councillors are setting up a working group to discuss a planned memorial to the victims of the Irish Famine in Glasgow.
The proposed tribute is also to the thousands who died or fled to the city during the Highlands and Islands Famine of the 1840s.
The Great Famine in Ireland, known as an Gorta Mór meaning the Great Hunger, was a period of mass starvation, emigration and disease in the 1800s during which at least one million died and an estimated million more left the country.
Glasgow City Council has agreed to establish a working group to look into erecting a memorial to the famine victims.
It was proposed by SNP councillor Feargal Dalton, who said: “A memorial will bring us into line with other great cities such as New York, where they make sure to acknowledge and celebrate their diversity. We also celebrate our diversity in Glasgow and any memorial will simply be a physical recognition of that fact.
“A memorial will highlight that in a world of continuing poverty and famine, Glasgow is very firmly on the side of justice and is a beacon of hope to those in the world who continue to suffer.”
The famine tribute working group will be established in the coming weeks while the nature of the memorial and where it may be sited have not been decided yet.
During a council meeting on Thursday, all parties backed the move apart from the Greens initially, who had put forward an amendment questioning whether memorials should be a priority over schools and other facilities.
However, this amendment was withdrawn during the meeting and the motion was carried.
Glasgow does not have a memorial to those affected by the Great Famine in Ireland, unlike other cities where those who escaped starvation settled in, including Liverpool, Boston and New York.
Following the council meeting, Mr Dalton was delighted his motion was passed with unanimous support. He added: “This was a human tragedy. It had no national, had no sectarian boundaries. This is above any sectarianism. This is about the people who perished, this is about the people who survived, and this is about the character that is Glasgow.
“The generous, charitable character that Glasgow has which comes from some of these events that have happened in the past and others.
“We heard shocking accounts last week of children in our city here in the margins who were going to their bed hungry. It is happening still here in Glasgow, it is happening around the world. There is one fundamental reason for famine around the world – poverty, created by man.
“We must do something about it. This is something that happened in the past which has an indelible imprint on our city today. It is very much about Glasgow being part of the future solution to poverty, famine that is still happening around the world.”