25 September 1997 Edition

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Canada remembers the Famine

THE IRISH FAMINE COMMEMORATION PROJECT in Kingston, Ontario has successfully petitioned Kingston City Council to set aside a piece of parkland as a memorial to the 1,400 Irish people who died in the city after they arrived there during the Great Hunger.

The parkland area, a prime site beside the Steam Museum, has been named An Gorta Mor Park.

Project organiser Tony O'Loughlin, who is originally from Belfast, is presently visiting the city where he hopes to meet SDLP mayor Alban Maginness to present him with a letter from the mayor of Kingston Gary H. Bennet.

"Kingston has recognised the immigrants' suffering and Kingstonians have responded by establishing a parkland memorial in downtown Kingston named An Gorta Mor Park. The Kingston Irish Famine Commemoration Association will erect a Celtic Cross in this park dedicated to those who died".

According to O'Loughlin, who first spoke to An Phoblacht about the project in September 1996, it is well on the way to completion with $6,500 of the $15,000 needed for a Celtic Cross to be erected on the site already collected.

"We hope to have the ground breaking ceremony next spring," O'Loughlin said, "and to have a community service for the ceremony as Kingston has a high number of people claiming Irish descent. The Project group intends to carry out research with the aim of producing books, pamphlets, vignettes and electronic recordings for use by the general public."

Meanwhile anyone wishing to make a donation to the fund can contact Anne McConnell, 255 Queen Street, Kingston, Ontario Canada K7K 1 B5

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1