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Dublin: 2 °C Tuesday 25 September, 2018
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Glasgow to erect famine memorial

The city’s council approved a motion unanimously to erect the memorial to victims of the Scottish and Irish famines of the 19th century.

A memorial erected in Mayo to those who died in the famine from 1845 to 1849 and in the Doolough Tragedy of 1849.
A memorial erected in Mayo to those who died in the famine from 1845 to 1849 and in the Doolough Tragedy of 1849.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE COUNCILLOR BEHIND a motion to erect a memorial to the victims of Ireland’s Great Famine in Scotland has said he is delighted that the plan received unanimous support from Glasgow City Council.

SNP councillor Feargal Dalton proposed the tribute to the thousands of Irish citizens who died or fled to the Scottish city during the Irish, Highlands and Islands Famine of the 1840s. He argued that the events of the decade had a significant cultural, economic and social impact on the modern-day character of the city.

The purpose of a memorial, he said, would also be to pay tribute to victims of the famine, act as an educational focus for future generations and tell an important part of the Glasgow story.

“A memorial will bring us into line with other great cities such as New York, where they make sure to acknowledge and celebrate their diversity. We also celebrate our diversity in Glasgow and any memorial will simply be a physical recognition of that fact,” he said. “A memorial will highlight that in a world of continuing poverty and famine, Glasgow is very firmly on the side of justice and is a beacon of hope to those in the world who continue to suffer.”

Seconded by Bailie James Scanlon, a member for Southside Central, the motion also recognised the efforts made by Glaswegians to provide relief and sanctuary to those affected at the time.

A working group for a memorial will meet for the first time within weeks to examine the feasibility of a memorial and report back next summer.

Councillor for Partick West, Dalton tweeted about his delight after the vote:

Dalton told STV Glasgow that the memorial will highlight the charitable character that the city has and show that the Great Famine was a human tragedy which had no national or sectarian boundaries.

The nature of memorial and where it may be sited have also still to be decided upon.

Bailie Scanlon commented: “Both the Irish and Highland famines drew thousands and thousands of migrants to Glasgow in a state of desperate need.

“These tragic events have had a huge influence on our city and it is right that they are commemorated. It remains to be seen how any memorial will take shape but I’m sure that its message will remain relevant for now and the future. Glasgow continues to welcome people from all over the world who come in search of sanctuary and I’m pleased there is a commitment to see this reflected in the completed memorial.”

Bailie Scanlon commented: “Both the Irish and Highland famines drew thousands and thousands of migrants to Glasgow in a state of desperate need. These tragic events have had a huge influence on our city and it is right that they are commemorated. It remains to be seen how any memorial will take shape but I’m sure that its message will remain relevant for now and the future. Glasgow continues to welcome people from all over the world who come in search of sanctuary and I’m pleased there is a commitment to see this reflected in the completed memorial.”

VIDEO: How the Black Death (and potato blight) came to Ireland>

Related: What has happened to Ireland’s workhouses?>

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