Written Answers. - Famine Commemoration Projects.

Ivor Callely


74 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht the projects that have been brought to his attention that will mark the 150th anniversary of the great Irish famine; the projects, if any, which are funded or grant-aided by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12486/95]

The Deputy will be aware that the Famine Commemoration Committee, chaired by the Minister of State Deputy Avril Doyle, is responsible for co-ordinating the Government's programme of events to mark the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the great famine. The programme was announced by the Minister of State on 27 June last. The committee is considering a proposal from my Department for a commemorative "Famine Garden".

A number of the national cultural institutions for which I have responsibility will also stage commemorative events to mark this tragic era in our country's history.

1. National Library

The National Library will hold a documentary exhibition of printed, pictorial and manuscript material which will graphically represent the causes, progress and history of the Great Famine, the remedial measures taken by public and private organisations to alleviate it as well as its social, demographic and political consequences.

In addition a travelling exhibition of facsimile material will be staged comprising photographs and other reproductions which I hope will serve to inform a wider audience outside Dublin as to the causes and effects of the Great Famine.
Both of these exhibitions will be financed from normal funding provided by my Department to the National Library. The National Library also propose to produce a book of key documents entitledThe Famine — A Documentary History which will be designed for use by the general public and also for use in schools.
2.National Archives
The National Archives is in the process of upgrading its finding aids in respect of the areas relating to the Great Famine — the archives of the Relief Government which co-ordinated famine relief in Ireland and the papers of the Society of Friends concerning the relief of distress. It is intended that this work will be completed in 1996.
The National Archives is also considering the possibility of redesigning and reprinting a facsimile pack of documents relating to the Famine which was first published in 1982.
The cost of these works will be met from normal funds provided by my Department to the National Archives. The National Archives will also of course, provide assistance to the many historians and researchers engaged in the study of this period.
3.National Museum
The National Museum will hold a major exhibition to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Famine in 1997. The exhibition will be housed in the West Wing of Clark Square, Collins Barracks.
4.Botanic Gardens
Concern will hold a ceremony in the National Botanic Gardens on 20 August to commemorate the discovery of blight in the Botanic Gardens in 1845.
5.Other Projects
The Deputy will be already aware that in this year's budget an allocation of £100,000 was made to the Women's Archive and Resource Centre Ltd. to be paid through my Department's Vote. An exhibition outlining the effects of the Famine on women in Ireland will be opened on August 23 by the centre and is being part funded from this grant.
In addition, an allocation of £50,000 was made in this year's budget to the Jeanie Johnston Project, Tralee and is being paid through my Department's Vote. This project involves the authentic reconstruction of the famous Famine emigrant shipBarque de Jeanie Johnston by a transnational team.
I also understand that An Chomhairle Ealaíon has directly supported a number of initiatives in connection with the Famine Commemoration.