13/10/2011 “Lessons to be learned from famine in the past to assist in the fight against global hunger today”

Today (13/10/11), Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht  and Chair of the National Famine Commemoration Committee gave the opening address at a public conference “From the Famine to Post Modern Hunger in the 21st Century”, in the National Library of Ireland.

The conference follows the 2011 National Famine Commemoration which took place in Clones on 10th September to ensure that the famine, its victims and its legacy are not forgotten and at which President McAleese led the official representation. The conference was held to mark World Food Day, which takes place on Sunday 16th October 2011, and was conceived as a forum to promote an open and constructive dialogue among academics, development practitioners and leading development Non-Governmental Organisations on how best to combat hunger in the 21st century in low-income food deficit countries.

Guest speakers at the lecture included Mr. Kevin Farrell, Ireland’s Special Envoy for Hunger, Dr. Éamon Phoenix, Queens University, Belfast, Ms. Jan O’Sullivan, Minister of State for Trade and Development and Dr. Stephen Devereux, Institue of Development Studies, University of Sussex.

Minister Deenihan will also represent the Irish Government in Liverpool this Sunday 16th October 2011 at an event to commemorate those who emigrated from Ireland to Liverpool and to other parts of the United Kingdom, Canada, United States of America, Australia and across the globe during the Great Famine. Indeed, the Great Famine resulted in a disproportionately strong representation of the Irish among the nations formed through emigration in the later 19th and early 20th centuries. These diaspora communities, which we call them today, still demonstrate a significant affinity with their migrant predecessors of the Famine.

Speaking today, Minister Deenihan said: “It is unlikely that there is any other event in our history that can be likened to the Great Famine, either for its immediate impact or its legacy.  However, it is vital, as a nation, that we use our experience and empathy to raise awareness of those around the world who are experiencing the devastating effects of famine today.   This is the only way we can truly honour the victims of the past”


Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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