Glasgow may erect Irish Famine memorial
Glasgow councillors are considering building a memorial to the victims of the Irish Famine in Glasgow.
The Great Famine in Ireland, known as An Gorta Mór, was a period of mass starvation, emigration and disease in the 1800s during which at least one million died and an estimated million more left the country. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants came to Glasgow and are the ancestors of much of the cities Catholic population today.
Glasgow City Council has agreed to establish a working group to look into erecting a memorial to the famine victims after a proposal by SNP Councillor Feargal Dalton.
“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,” Mr Dalton said. “We also celebrate our diversity in Glasgow and any memorial will simply be a physical recognition of that fact. 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.”
The famine tribute-working group will be established in the coming weeks while the nature of the memorial and where it may be sited are yet to decided.
During a council meeting last week, all parties backed the move apart. Glasgow does not have a memorial to those affected by the Great Famine in Ireland, unlike other cities where those who escaped starvation settled in, including Liverpool, Boston and New York.
Following the council meeting, Mr Dalton was delighted his motion was passed with unanimous support.
“This was a human tragedy. It had no national, had no sectarian boundaries. This is above any sectarianism,” he said, “This is about the people who perished, this is about the people who survived, and this is about the character that is Glasgow. The generous, charitable character that Glasgow has which comes from some of these events that have happened in the past and others.”
Pic: A memorial statue in Dublin to the victims of the Great Famine