Minister Humphreys leads 2016 International Famine Commemoration in Philadelphia
The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, is today (Sunday) leading the 2016 International Famine Commemoration in Philadelphia. The ceremony, which is being held at the Irish Memorial in the city, marks the end of Minister Humphreys’ three day visit to Philadelphia during which she met with senior political figures, Irish community organisations and Irish American business groups.
Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:
“Today we gather to honour the memory of the victims of the Great Hunger, regardless of their religion, political affiliation or nationality. In particular we remember those who made the journey, often enduring the most horrendous of conditions, across the Atlantic to Philadelphia.
“We in Ireland are immensely proud of our diaspora and their achievements in every walk of modern life and while we remember the victims of the Famine today, we also pay tribute to the wonderful contribution those who survived made to great cities like Philadelphia. We are surrounded at every turn by the contribution of the Irish here in Philadelphia. From James Smith, a signatory of the Declaration of Independence, to Commodore John Barry, the father of the US Navy, to the thousands of navvies who built the roads and railroads here.
“At every event I have participated in or attended over the past few days, I have been struck by how the legacy and memory of the Great Hunger is deeply ingrained in the collective memory of Philadelphia. Today’s ceremony is testimony to the current generation’s deep appreciation of the suffering caused by the tragic events of the Famine. I would like to thank all involved in the events this week which provided such a poignant tribute to the memory of these brave people.”