Fine Gael Clare TD and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs, Pat Breen, has warmly welcomed the announcement that Kilrush has been selected as the location for the National Famine Commemoration 2013.
Deputy Breen made representations to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, on the matter.
“I was delighted to be informed by Minister Deenihan that Kilrush has been selected as the location for this year’s commemoration and I would like to thank to Minister Deenihan for his support. I was very happy to support the local community’s application. This is the sixth consecutive year in which the National Commemoration of the Famine is taking place and it is very fitting that it is being held in Kilrush, considering how it was affected by the Famine.
“The Great Famine had a huge impact on Kilrush and the entire West Clare Peninsula. In 1841 the population of Kilrush was 5,071, but since the Famine it has never exceeded 2,800. County Clare recorded the highest number of evictions per head of population, with the highest number in the county recorded in Kilrush. The workhouse in Kilrush served the entire Loop Head peninsula; so this year’s commemoration will mark events which took place in the entire wider West Clare area.
“This Commemoration will provide an opportunity for all those who have connections to the events in West Clare, and who are now living further afield, to return to Kilrush to remember the sad events which took place in West Clare in the 1800s. Considering this is the year of the Gathering, holding the Commemoration in Kilrush should help to bolster the number of visitors to the area. I hope other events can also be held around the Commemoration, to provide even greater encouragement to people to come and visit West Clare this year.
“I would like to pay particular tribute to the local Kilrush and District Historical Society, Kilrush Town Council, Clare County Council and to FÁS for their work in making this announcement possible.”