Tóibín welcomes the introduction of the Famine Commemoration Bill
Sinn Féin TD for Meath West, Peadar Tóibín TD has welcomed the introduction of a Bill seeking a fixed commemoration day for the famine. However, An Teachta Tóibín has expressed disappointment that the Fine Gael cynically introduced their bill in a reluctant response to the similar Sinn Féin Bill introduced a few weeks ago.
Deputy Tóibín said:
“I welcome that this Bill will be introduced. It is shocking that, in response to a recent PQ that I submitted, we have learned that the Government still have not selected the day for this year, 2017, in which we will commemorate the Famine.
“Each year, citizens and community groups around the world seek to organise commemorative events to pay tribute and remember the most significant time of our nation’s history. They are frustrated by the Government’s inability to select the date in a neither fixed nor timely fashion.
“Currently, the commemoration date swings from between May to September each year meaning that planning and preparation, especially for those overseas is particularly difficult. This Bill will place the Famine Memorial Day on the second Sunday of May, the same date as was proposed by the Sinn Féin Bill.
“It is undoubtedly a positive development that the famine receives appropriate commemoration. It is, by far, the single most difficult and influential period of our history. I do believe it is enormously cynical that the government could not work with an opposition Bill but sought to replicate a Sinn Féin bill for the purpose of having their own finger prints on the initiative.
“Regardless of this political shimmying, Sinn Féin is very supportive of the introduction of the Famine Commemoration Day Bill and the end to the annual certainty over the date of commemoration.”