The Oireachtas Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht today (Wednesday) completed detailed scrutiny of the National Famine Commemoration Day Bill 2017, which was tabled by Fine Gael TD, Colm Brophy.
At the Committee meeting Deputy Brophy detailed the key points of his legislation which designates the third weekend in May for an annual commemoration event. This date will be enshrined in law should the Bill be passed through the Oireachtas.
Speaking today welcoming the progress of his legislation, Deputy Brophy said: “I welcome the support of Committee members today for my legislation on the National Famine Commemoration Day and I am also grateful for the support of the Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan.
“Up until now, many Irish people were unaware that we had an event to commemorate the Great Famine of the 1840s, as the date tended to move around. It is crucial we give more stature and certainty to an event of such national importance. We must ensure that younger generations have full knowledge of the causes and impact of the Great Famine.
“The proposed legislation gives flexibility on which day of the weekend any commemoration event can be held.
“By stipulating a specific weekend for the famine commemorations, we are ensuring better State planning for the event. It will also allow schools to work towards the date, ensuring they can better prepare for any activities they want to hold for the Commemoration. It will also be good for tourism considering many of the Irish diaspora have an interest in the Great Famine. By fixing the date we enable visitors to arrange a visit around the commemoration date.
“Now that this Bill has completed detailed scrutiny, the Oireachtas Committee will prepare a report for the Dáil. I hope it will then proceed through the legislative process and be passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas, thereby enshrining in law an annual Famine Commemoration date.”