Minister of State O’Donovan represents the Government at the 2017 International Famine Commemoration, Ireland Park, Toronto

The International Famine Commemoration for 2017 takes place in Ireland Park Toronto on Tuesday 24th October.  Ireland Park, which marked its tenth anniversary earlier this year, was the first overseas commemorative event to be organised by the National Famine Commemoration Committee in honour and memory of those who emigrated and took to the seas during An Gorta Mór.

Speaking today Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan T.D., who represented the Government on behalf of the Chair of the National Famine Commemoration Committee, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., said:

“It is especially fitting that in the 170th anniversary of the worst year of the Famine, ‘Black 47’, we return again to Ireland Park in Toronto to remember those who suffered and died during that terrible time and in particular the over 110,000 souls who undertook the perilous the voyage to Canada from Ireland that year.”

“The Irish people will never forget this horrific time in our history, nor will we forget the generous welcome given by the people of this city and country, particularly the hand of friendship and assistance offered by the people of Toronto to those distraught and desolate masses that came to these shores.”

While in Toronto Minister O’Donovan will also visit the site of the new George Robert Grasset Park and will meet with members of the Hill 70 memorial Project which is being supported by the Irish Government.  The Minister will also meet with Irish community groups and Canadian Government representatives.

This is the third International Famine Commemoration to be held in Canada.  Toronto also hosted the first commemoration in 2009. Since then commemorations have been held in the USA (4), England (1) and Australia (1).

Ireland park was officially opened in June 2007, with a ceremony attended by President Mary McAleese.

Two Irishmen, Robert Hill Hanna from Co. Down and Michael James O’Rourke from Co. Limerick, were among the six recipients of the Victoria Cross following the fighting at the Battle of Hill 70 in August 1917.


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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