The Great Hunger Memorial Committee are unimpressed by a new Glasgow famine memorial that commemorates both Irish and Scottish dead
A memorial in Glasgow to commemorate the Famine dead of both Ireland and Scotland has been deemed “offensive” by the original campaign to erect one.
Glasgow City Council decided that the memorial on Glasgow Green would also reference the Scots who died during the potato blight of the 1840s; the Highland Potato Famine led to mass emigration to Scotland’s cities, but mass starvation like that experienced in Ireland was averted through far greater relief and much more help from local landlords.
But Coiste Cuimhneachaín An Gorta Mór (The Great Hunger Memorial Committee) are not happy and say it would be the only memorial in the world to jointly commemorate the Irish and Scottish dead together.
They think the decision can be linked to the dark specter of sectarianism that has haunted Glasgow ever since the Reformation.
Great Famine memorial gets green light for Glasgow site https://t.co/LKnAGXNlSN— Wullie Broon (@TheCelticSmiler) September 20, 2017
“It seemed to us that Glasgow City Council added on the Highland element because they knew, or believed, that there were forces in Glasgow even today who would not accept a memorial which involved the Irish alone,” spokeswoman Jeanette Findlay told the Scotland-based publication the Irish Voice.
“The scale and extent of what happened to our people—one million dead and one million forced to emigrate out of a population of eight million made the notion of a ‘Highland and Irish famine memorial’ completely unacceptable to us and offensive in its very concept.”
Instead, the group will press on with their own stand-alone memorial and have decided St Mary’s Church - where the legendary soccer club Celtic was founded - will be its permanent home.
“With today’s announcement, we can leave the frustrations of the last two years behind and move forward with renewed energy and with enormous gratitude to the Parish of St Mary’s, Calton, who have made the grounds of their beautiful and historic Church available to us,” Findlay added.
“Our forefathers and mothers arrived here and were assisted by their own community—including the parishioners and priests of St Mary’s—and other good people of the time; the completion of our memorial will be achieved in the same way.”
Speaking to the Herald a spokeswoman from Glasgow City Council said, “Work on our memorial is progressing and it will be unveiled by the end of this year with details being released over the next few weeks.”
H/T: The Herald